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    $20.97 $18.95 list($29.95)
    1. The Phantom of the Opera (2-Disc
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    1. The Phantom of the Opera (2-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $20.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNL0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 10
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

    Read our CD buying guide
    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    2. Controversial Classics Collection (Advise and Consent / The Americanization of Emily / Bad Day at Black Rock / Blackboard Jungle / A Face in the Crowd / Fury / I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang)
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    Asin: B0007TKNKQ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 400
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Otto Preminger expanded his vision in the 1960s with a whole series of ambitious, expansive dramas with huge casts and big themes. Advise and Consent (1962), an examination of deal making, party politics, and congressional diplomacy in Washington's legislative halls (based on the novel by Allen Drury), is one of his best. Preminger broke the blacklist with his previous film, Exodus, and it rings through in this drama about a controversial nominee for secretary of state (a confident, stately Henry Fonda) accused of being a Communist. The nomination process becomes the center ring of the political circus, with fidgety accuser Burgess Meredith in the spotlight; devious, silver-tongued Charles Laughton cracking the whip as a southern senator with a grudge against Fonda; and party whip Walter Pidgeon lining up votes behind the scenes. Arm twisting and diplomatic hardball turns to perjury and blackmail, and a melodramatic twist gives this lesson in party politics a salacious soap opera dimension.

    With The Americanization of Emily (1964), screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky (Marty) sinks his satirical fangs into a story of an American naval officer (James Garner) selected to be the first victim at the invasion of Normandy. Julie Andrews plays a prim, British war widow who falls for him. Cynical in tone, the story becomes an interesting collision of manipulative interests and renewed life, the same formula that worked so well in Chayefsky's scripts for Network and Hospital.

    One of the first Hollywood films to deal openly with white racism toward Japanese Americans during World War II, Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) (directed by action maestro John Sturges, The Great Escape) stars Spencer Tracy as a one-armed stranger named MacReedy, who arrives in the tiny town of Black Rock on a hot day in 1945. Seeking a hotel room and the whereabouts of an ethnic Japanese farmer named Komoko, MacReedy runs smack into a wall of hostility that escalates into serious threats. In time it becomes apparent that Komoko has been murdered by a local, racist chieftain, Reno Smith (Robert Ryan), who also plans on dispensing with MacReedy. Tracy's hero is forced to fight his way past Smith's goons (among them Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin) and sundry allies (Anne Francis) to keep alive, setting the stage for memorable suspense crisply orchestrated by Sturges. Casting is the film's principal strength, however: Tracy, the indispensable icon of integrity, and Ryan, the indispensable noir image of spiritual blight, are as creatively unlikely a pairing as Sturges's shotgun marriage of Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven.

    Novelist Evan Hunter burst America's postwar bubble when he described an inner-city school terrorized by switchblade-wielding juvenile delinquents. Director-screenwriter Richard Brooks's 1955 adaptation of Blackboard Jungle still packs a tremendous wallop (even if it was shot mostly on the back lot). A forerunner of Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, this black-and-white classic--set to Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock"--is part exposé, part melodrama, part public-service announcement. Glenn Ford, at his slow-to-rile best, plays Richard Dadier, an incoming English teacher at North Manual High School. An idealist who knows how to handle himself in a dark alley, Dadier stands his ground and earns the begrudging respect of school thugs led by Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier. Anne Francis plays Ford's especially vulnerable wife; Richard Kiley is the timid math teacher with the priceless jazz-record collection; Louis Calhern and John Hoyt are among the more cynical North Manual High veterans. See if you can ID Jamie Farr and director Paul Mazursky as gang members. The film was nominated for four Oscars.

    More timely now, perhaps, than when it was first released in 1957, Elia Kazan's overheated political melodrama Face in the Crowd explores the dangerous manipulative power of pop culture. It exposes the underside of Capra-corn populism, as exemplified in the optimistic fable of grassroots punditry Meet John Doe. In Kazan's account, scripted by Budd Schulberg, the common-man pontificator (Andy Griffith) is no Gary Cooper-style aw-shucks paragon. Promoted to national fame as a folksy TV idol by radio producer Patricia Neal, Griffith's Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes turns out to be a megalomaniacal rat bastard. The film turns apocalyptic as Rhodes exploits his power to sway the masses, helping to elect a reactionary presidential candidate. The parodies of television commercials and opinion polling were cutting edge in their day (Face in the Crowd was the Network of the Eisenhower era), and there are some startling, near-documentary sequences shot on location in Arkansas. An extraordinary supporting cast (led by Walter Matthau and Lee Remick) helps keep the energy level high, even when the satire turns shrill and unpersuasive in the final reel.

    Fury is tough stuff from director Fritz Lang (M), making his first American film with this 1936 story of an innocent man (Spencer Tracy) who escapes a lynch mob and then orchestrates his apparent murder at their hands. Tracy is superb, and the film is uncompromising, until studio interference takes some of the wind out of Lang's sails right at the end. But as the portrait of a character who comes to reflect the destiny he is trying to avoid, this is still essential Lang and a pre-noir classic.

    I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) is one of the toughest and most uncompromising movies to evercome out of Hollywood. Paul Muni stars as a regular Joe, just back from World War I, who is unjustly convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years of bruisingly unfair treatment on a chain gang. Even a successful escape can't shake the spectre of the chains, nor the amazingly fatalistic twists the screenplay has in store. This picture could only have been made at Warner Bros., where social-justice movies flourished in the 1930s and criticism of judicial systems and prisons was sanctioned. Muni's weird acting style (he was recently off Scarface) somehow fits the film's furious tone, and director Mervyn LeRoy--as in his earlier Little Caesar--was dexterous enough to build the action to an unforgettable ending. It's a film that filters the American Dream through Depression realities and noirish pessimism (with a streak of pre-Code sexual frankness--note the one-night "friend" Muni makes the night of his escape). This one holds up, folks; it's a stunner. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Adequate boxed set
    Samuel Goldwyn once said, "If you want to send a message, try Western Union."This collection of message movies from the early '30s to the mid '60s shows just how right the old mogul was.

    In most cases, the messages have aged badly.Hiller's "The Americanization of Emily" is a pathetic attempt to portray World War II as a sham, while the conciliatory pacifism of Otto Preminger's "Advise and Consent" seems naive now that the Cold War has ended.(Preminger's treatment of Gay themes is silly and superficial, especially when compared to superior British efforts of that time such as "Victim.")Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd" is deeply condescending -- the people of Piggott, Arkansas, have never quite forgiven the director for turning their perfectly pleasant small town into a gallery of sweating grotesques -- and its satire of mass media was hackneyed even in the 1950s.Richard Brooks's "Blackboard Jungle" is a squaresville expose of juvenile delinquency disguised under hip rock-and-roll music.

    I've always felt that John Sturgis's "Bad Day at Black Rock" is a much-overrated film, though I confess I enjoy Andre Previn's dramatic score; the film's message against racism, however, is surprisingly feeble, especially given that the film's only nonwhite character is a mute, grinning railroad porter.And who today seriously favors lynch law, the target of Fritz Lang's "Fury"?(Again, this is a movie about a racial issue -- lynching -- in which nonwhite characters are never granted a voice.)Oddly, the oldest film in this set is the only one that still packs a punch: Mervyn LeRoy's "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" helped put an end to this brutal form of incarceration.Now that the chain gang is making a comeback, perhaps this film should, too.

    But even when the messages don't work, the films themselves usually do -- with the exception of "Emily," this collection's one real dud.Each DVD features a transfer that ranges from merely adequate ("Black Rock," "Fury") to superb ("Advise and Consent"), with an original theatrical trailer and, in all but one case, an audio commentary.(The commentaries come from film scholars or directors, and as such are far more interesting than an average gabfest.)Perhaps to break the monotony, "A Face in the Crowd" foregoes audio commentary in favor of a brief documentary, comprised mostly of interviews with the aging cast.A few of the DVDs also offer period theatrical shorts.

    This is hardly Criterion quality, but for the money it's not a bad value.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MAGNIFICENT ASSEMBLAGE OF LANDMARK FILMS AT A GREAT PRICE
    Warner Brothers home video department just keeps topping their previous exceptional achievments.

    Here we have SEVEN magnificent, acclaimed feature films from the 1930s to the 1960s that still have the power to reach the "gut" of the viewer and be profound and provocative. Of course, each film is available individually, but the value of buying this boxed set brings the price to around $8 per film. Unreal.

    Any serious cinema afficiando owes it to him or herself to buy this.

    Pre-release reviews have praised the exceptional transfers (typical of WB), and I cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by this boxed set of incomparable films.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb Selection of Socially Sensitive Cinema
    Warner Home Video has done it again.Their "Film Noir Classics"
    collection was an excellent quintet of seminal noir movies, and
    this collection is an equally well-considered compilation of
    socially conscious movies, movies that challenged the American
    conscience, and helped effect politial and social change.

    This collection is also a good introduction to the work of
    a number of prominent directors, including Otto Preminger,
    Elia Kazan, and Fritz Lang.

    I must quibble with a previous reviewer who stated that
    BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK was a black-and-white movie.It
    is, in fact, in color.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Bad Day At Black Rock" on DVD?!?!? Finally!!!
    I've been waiting for years! My first chance watching this was renting the Criterion Laserdisc 500 years ago or so when the dinosaurs still walked the Earth (we needed the larger Laserdiscs to fend ourselves from the dinosaurs). This is a black and white, widescreen (they better not crop this thing) noir/mystery with great wit and an edge. Spencer Tracy rocks the house in BDaBR as the one-armed man. Gotta love it. Great twists, lovely female co-star. If you can't afford to go to film school, buy this pack of films and take notes (I'm only familiar with "Blackboard Jungle" - but the rest are supposed to be classics as well, especially Chain Gang, and Fury is German filmmaker Fritz Langs first American film, also with Spencer Tracy) - buy Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in The West" too since that movie is a class in filmmaking in itself. Oh yeah, if you're gonna skip film school you should probably buy some books from these guys too. And get some popcorn, ice cream and beverages too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thanks George!
    Vice President of Warner Home Video's classics catalogue, George Feltenstein, recently promised us this fantastic collection of films and here they are way sooner than expected! While individually they have very little to do with one another, aside from their controversial response upon initial release of course, they are all a very worthwhile addition to the collections of serious film lovers. ... Read more


    3. Sideways (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Alexander Payne
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $19.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKOAA
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 26
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    With Sideways, Paul Giamatti (American Splendor, Storytelling) has become an unlikely but engaging romantic lead. Struggling novelist and wine connoisseur Miles (Giamatti) takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church, Wings) on a wine-tasting tour of California vineyards for a kind of extended bachelor party. Almost immediately, Jack's insatiable need to sow some wild oats before his marriage leads them into double-dates with a rambunctious wine pourer (Sandra Oh, Under the Tuscan Sun) and a recently divorced waitress (Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot)--and Miles discovers a little hope that he hasn't let himself feel in a long time. Sideways is a modest but finely tuned film; with gentle compassion, it explores the failures, struggles, and lowered expectations of mid-life. Giamatti makes regret and self-loathing sympathetic, almost sweet. From the director of Election and About Schmidt. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (304)

    4-0 out of 5 stars delicious little movie
    The risk involved in describing "Sideways" as a road movie about obsessive wine tasting is that people who are not wine buffs/connoisseurs are likely to stay away from it, which would be a pity. So let me discuss it from a different perspective: Sideways is in fact a buddy movie, and not an overly comic one. Granted, there is a fair share of funny scenes but overall the tone of the movie veers clearly toward the dramatic.
    Meet Miles and Jack. The former is a small-time english teacher (and aspiring novelist...too bad his aspirations are constantly frustrated), the latter is a washed-up tv actor with a career that after a promising start never really took off. Both are middle-aged guys who are coping with lowered expectations and shattered ambitions.
    Jack is about to marry (although he feels uneasy about his marital future) and the two friends embark on a wine-tasting extended bachelor party that eventually feels much like a coming of age story.
    There is a lot of wine talking going on throughout the movie but wine isn't the whole point. Wine is more like a metaphor for life and there is a brilliant dialogue between Miles and Maya (the girl he falls in love with) that clearly shows this point.
    This is not a happy-ending movie. There's a lot of stark realism in it and although the finale leaves some hope for Miles, it's quite obvious that this is LIFE, not some fairy tale.
    This is no educational movie either. There are scenes where "getting sideways", far from being frowned upon, is elevated to something very romantic or, at least, something that lets us understand Miles' deep suffering, forcing us to be sympathetic to his condition.
    Anyway, enough with the social commentary, I greatly appreciated this movie and I think that anybody with a passing interest in non-mainstream stuff should see it.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Will This Film EVER End!
    A slice of life? A road movie?To be a slice of life the lives should be interesting.To be a road movie interesting things should happen en route.Aside from a lengthy plug for the California Wine industry, the whole movie struck me as tedious.There are some amusing moments and dialogue tucked between a lot of mundane, unfunny and often depressing conversation and events.The lead character steals from his mother and despite his affection for wine in the abstract, drinks to deal with depression by getting sloppy drunk.Meanwhile his buddy shows such respect for the woman he's driving north to marry that he's willing to bed anything with a pulse between Los Angeles and the Napa Valley.And we're supposed to care about these people?Why the movie industry is so high on this film beats me.After watching it carefully twice, trying to find some overlooked redeeming quality, I just don't see it.Possibly I'm not sophisticated enough to enjoy it.Possibly it's not that great a movie.

    It may have some appeal to the wine connoisseur or wanna'be who's always wanted to impress his friends by saying things like, "It's a sassy little pinot that perfectly complements ze flavour of ze Ritz Crackers and ze Cheeez Whiz." but I found myself wishing it was a much shorter movie.I certainly won't recommend it to anyone I like or remember it 6 months from now ... probably less.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Cineaste's Dream
    I won't rehash the plot, the characters, etc., as that's all so familiar by now.Why is this film a small wonder?Because it's what happens in the interstices, between the minimal action and the raucous laughs.Like the characters or not, they are painfully real, and we get so few real characters in movies today.We get so few honestly-motivated characters today.And the reason:one has only to peruse the one-star reviews on this site.Has anyone noticed that the one-star reviews are generally very short, as if the attention span of the denouncer couldn't sustain a paragraph, let alone a reasonably lengthy explanation of their disgust?It's usually "boring" -- it's not to any true cineaste, of course -- or the characters are morally bankrupt -- so, that's not a valid reason to loathe a movie; in fact, it's a completely biased and stupid reason to mount a criticism of a work of art on.Face it, "Sideways" was made for people who love film that challenges them, surprises them, moves them, forces them to see life in a different light.Most people don't want to be challenged -- you know who you are, you brain-dead video gamers, you Internet-addled, low-alpha brain-wave unguents -- so why bother to voice your complaints about this brilliant movie unless you really have something profound to say in defense of your criticism.Compared to the one-star reviews, the five-star reviews are very lengthy, usually articulate and thoughtful and understand what the filmmaker was trying to accomplish.An Alexander Payne should be celebrated, a studio that gives him money should be extolled.It's just too bad there aren't more of him.I did have one criticism of the DVD, though -- but it won't change my five-star rating -- and that's the voice-over commentary by Thomas Church and Giamatti.It's so puerile at times, so uninformative; too bad Payne didn't do it with his writing partner.Oh, well, fortunately one doesn't have to listen to their drivel, and even if one decides to suffer it, it in no way detracts from their courageous performances.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie with excellent characters
    I guess I could start with a short synopsis.Two college buddies are headed North to the wine country for a week long bachelor party.Miles is in a depressed state because of a divorce and Jack is looking to get some before he gets married.From this spouts some crazy situations in and out of vineyards.

    What you do get from this movie is excellent characters.Even though Miles could be incredibly annoying you end up feeling for him.I think a lot of people have friends that are like Jack.They're a bit older but still act immature at times.Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh are both awesome too.While Sandra Oh's character could have been developed more I don't think the movie suffers because of it.

    The dialogue is witty and sarcastic sometimes to the point of being outright hilarious.Granted it may take a special kind of humor to understand why some things are funny.There are some things that are just sophomoric but they lighten the film at times where you think Miles might drag you down.

    There is definitely a reason why this movie was nominated for a bunch of awards.You can't go wrong with sharp/witty writing and excellent acting/direction.I would highly recommend at least going out and renting this movie.I know it will soon become a part of my collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Pinot Noir Film Ever!
    Ok, it is a shame that people won't order Merlot from me anymore (Oregon state merlot, people), but there's no denying the fact that this is a masterful piece of work here.

    This film has everything I love-- witty dialouge with an underlying sense of sarcasm and black humor, it's about a writer, wine, dispicable characters, social commentary on how shallow secular America has become in relationships with other people, and wine.

    I loved seeing Giammatti's character-- a pansy New York Times reading whiner, get his midlife crisis in full, and the scenery was masterfully incorporated into the story, adding a whole other dimension to the poignancy.

    The acting was top notch, and it is a brilliantly written character study. People who are dissing this film do it because they're reminded of their own pathetic lives. At least, that's my take on it.

    Cheers! ... Read more


    4. The Phantom of the Opera (Full Screen Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $19.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNIS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 57
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

    Read our CD buying guide
    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    5. Pride and Prejudice (Special Edition)
    Director: Simon Langton
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $27.97
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    Asin: B00005MP58
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 82
    Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (596)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A marvelous adaptation of one of the great novels.
    This A&E/BBC miniseries is a true masterpiece, bringing Jane Austen's most popular novel to life in a near perfect production. It has everything: authentic Regency Period atmosphere, costumes, settings, a beautiful musical score, excellent performances by a well-chosen cast. Andrew Davis's script does full justice to Austen's original. Colin Firth is excellent as Mr. Darcy, but Jennifer Ehle just takes my breath away with her magnificent performance, which catches every nuance of Elizabeth Bennet's character exactly right in every scene. It is a pleasure to watch all 4 1/2 hours straight through again and again. As a longtime devoted admirer of Jane Austen's works, I am very critical of any movies based upon her novels, but this has to be one of the very best adaptations of any major literary work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WORTH OWNING AND REPEAT VIEWING
    I'm usually very hesitant about adaptations from book to film (especially classics), but this movie does justice to Jane Austin's timeless masterpiece. I rented this movie on a whim, thinking that it would at least be somewhat entertaining, but to my surprize and great pleasure, it not only captivated the true essence of the novel but the characters really came alive and stayed true to the story the whole way through. I eventually bought the DVD and I have NOT had "buyer's remorse" ever since. I get caught up in every moment of every scene of every viewing.

    There are no annoying "Hollywood stars" in it like in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, yet the acting is incredible. Although I enjoyed Sense and Sensibility (on the second viewing because the first time I watched it I fell asleep), it doesn't hold a candle to Pride and Prejudice. This adaption lets your imagination steep in the imagery, language, and essence of the film so you never get "pulled out" of a scence. If you're unsure as whether or not to buy this gem, just do what I did and rent it for the weekend. You'll soon discover that your movie collection will be lacking without this rendition of Pride and Prejudice.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Superb, true to Jane Austen adaption
    This version of Pride & Predjudice is my absolute favorite. I have owned the tapes and the original DVD. As far as the movie itself goes, the characters are all perfectly cast. From the embarassingly annoying Mrs. Bennet, the sweet oldest sister Jane, the condescending and IQ challenged Mr. Collins, to the feisty Elizabeth and the Proud Mr. Darcy, you will find yourself engrossed in every character's story. The script was written to stay true to the original novel. The scenery in breathtaking, and you will find yourself paying as much attention to the beautiful countryside as you will the drama.
    As for technical details, the biographies that are included on this special version are simply printed words on the screen. Interesting information, but each bio is only one or two paragraphs long with a complete list of credits for only a few of the characters. The mini featurette is okay.
    My bottom line: if you love romance, drama, and history then this is the movie for you. If you already own it on tape or have the original dvd, save your money and enjoy the version you have.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Period Movie - Lovely to watch
    As an avid lover of period movies, I received this particular one last Christmas. I've been able to watch it multiple times. I love Colin Firth's portrayal of a proud and prejudice man who finally learns there are more important things. It's funny and romantic and the dialogue, as with any period piece, will keep you on your toes . . . maybe that's why I can re-watch so many times. It is a timeless movie!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Colin Firth...need I say more? Great Movie Colin Firth aside
    This movie is so amazing I've watched it so many times and I never get tired of it. I thought this was by far the best film adaptation of the novel. Colin Firth portrayed Mr. Darcy exactly as I pictured him in my mind. I loved all the characters and felt like the actors/actresses lived up the their characters in the novel. While the picture quality may not be that great (read several comments about it) it didnt bother me one bit. The locations they filmed were simply beautiful, the story and characters entralling, and the costumes and scenes eye catching....I didnt even notice the quality. ... Read more


    6. The Errol Flynn Signature Collection (Captain Blood / The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex / The Sea Hawk / They Died with Their Boots On / Dodge City / The Adventures of Errol Flynn)
    list price: $59.92
    our price: $44.94
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007OY2PS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 221
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Errol Flynn is one of those names that define movie stardom. Chiseled good looks that stopped just short of being preposterous. A brash and jaunty manner that charmed men and women alike. Whiffs of bad-boy scandal offscreen that only enhanced his legend (not for nothing did "In like Flynn" become a national catchphrase!). And enough marquee-worthy titles that in memory's ear ring like classics.

    Flynn's stardom wasn't on a par with the richly ambiguous artistry of Cary Grant, or the deep, enduring heroic legacy of John Wayne, or the indelible character work amassed by Flynn's Warner Bros. contemporaries Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Edward G. Robinson. Still, this most celebrated of Tasmanian devils was a one-of-a-kind, often raffishly entertaining icon of Hollywood in the '30s and '40s who played a big part in making the golden age glow. And for most of us, to say "swashbuckler" is to conjure up Flynn's wolfish grin above a rapier, director Mike Curtiz's wall-filling shadows of dueling men, and the symphonic, trumpet-filled music scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

    Stardom came swiftly. After two small-part assignments at Warners, the studio awarded Flynn the title role in Captain Blood (1935)--in retrospect, a sort of rough draft for his most beloved movie,The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938; not in this collection). The hero, an Irish-born physician wrongly convicted of treason during the reign of King James, is sentenced to a life of slavery in Jamaica. In short order he's charmed his new master's niece (the bright-eyed Olivia De Havilland, Maid Marian-to-be) and contrived an escape with his rebel comrades to become lusty, albeit passionately populist, buccaneers. The film's budget was clearly limited (there's a stark absence of horizons in the tropic and seagoing scenes), but director Curtiz's camerawork cunningly evokes the ever-present tilting and rolling of life aboard ship. Much-Oscar-nominated, the movie certified Flynn as the Douglas Fairbanks of the sound era--even in blond tresses and without what would become his signatory mustache.

    If Captain Blood became the Flynn-Curtiz prototype for swashbucklers, The Sea Hawk was the last, luxury model off the line. Warners was always wired in to the zeitgeist, and this 1940 movie about English privateers saving Queen Elizabeth's island nation from the Spanish Armada does double duty as an in-Der-Fuehrer's-face allegory of the looming world war. No blank horizons here, and every wall sports a towering map of a world ripe for conquest. Slickness is all: Claude Rains and Henry Daniell are impeccably devious diplomats, and Sol Polito's black-and-white cinematography shifts into sultry sepiatone when the Sea Hawks sneak off to the tropics on a transatlantic espionage mission. (As for Flynn's mission, his swashbuckling would hereafter be confined to contemporary war pictures for the duration.)

    He also saddled up for some lively Westerns. Dodge City (1939) is a knock-down, drag-out barn-burner in brassy Technicolor, with Flynn as a trail boss reluctantly turned town marshal. Curtiz directs yet again, with flair if not necessarily historical conviction, and the presence of Robin Hood costars Olivia De Havilland and Alan Hale (Little John) is virtually mandatory by this point. Ripe villainy is supplied by Bruce Cabot and--substituting, perhaps, for the un-frontier-worthy Basil Rathbone--the fox-faced Victor Jory.

    They Died with Their Boots On (1942) is filled with spectacular Civil War and cavalry action, though its hagiographic treatment of George Armstrong Custer should set historically enlightened viewers on the warpath. Nonetheless, it features Flynn's most interesting performance in the collection. Whereas Curtiz was the ideal director for the star in boy's-own-adventure mode, Raoul Walsh elicited more nuanced work from him (see especially their wonderful Gentleman Jim, not included in this collection), and the scenes between Flynn and Olivia De Havilland achieve a tenderness that deepens with each reel. The magic-hour cinematography is by veteran John Ford cameraman Bert Glennon.

    And that--apart from a new documentary feature, The Adventures of Errol Flynn--leaves The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939). Sad to say, that doesn't leave much. Bette Davis (taking the role Flora Robson played in The Sea Hawk) and Flynn (as the English knight the not-so-Virgin Queen loved but feared as a rival) have zero chemistry; she delivers a mannered performance only a Bette Davis impersonator could love, and Flynn demonstrates how stiff he could be (no pun intended) when clueless about his material. In fairness to both, the movie is a static adaptation of a very repetitious and declamatory Maxwell Anderson play. Its inclusion here is notable only as a vast technical improvement on the long-ago VHS release. --Richard T. Jameson ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    4-0 out of 5 stars In Like Flynn...Again
    Okay, here it is. Strait up. I adore Errol Flynn. Always have, always will. Can't remember which of his films I saw first on television years ago (though my little grey brain cells keep whispering "They Died With Their Boots On"), but whatever it was, it made me instantly a Flynn junkie and I have remained so ever since. It is hard to say which of the "Tasmanian Devil's" movies I like the best, though I'm inclined to believe it is a toss-up between "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (this awesome film amazingly MISSING from this "signature" collection...and it's unfathomable absence the priciple reason I have rated this collection as only 4 stars instead of 5). How does one have an Errol Flynn "signature" collection with "Charge of the Light Brigade" so glaringly unincluded? Boggles the mind.One would hope Turner Classics would produce a "Volume II" to this, a follow-up that would feature "Light Brigade", "The Dawn Patrol", "Gentleman Jim","Adventures of Don Juan", and one of Joanne Woodward's favorites, "That Forsyte Woman" from MGM (or else "Uncertain Glory" or "Edge of Darkness").

    It is good to see Flynn coming back "In" again (to play on the old "In like..." expression). He took a major hit some two decades ago with a most worthless book that became a bestseller ("The Secret Life of Errol Flynn" by Charles Higham )and smeared his name and reputation mean-spiritedly. This author, Higham, termed Flynn a traitor and Nazi spy and pedophile homosexual, supposedly using "credible" witness tesitimony and "classified documentation" to bolster his outrageous claims. He had Flynn doing all sorts of things to further the cause of the Reich and hooked him up with secret meetings all across Europe and in the Caribbean with his "Nazi intelligence controllers". Among his claims were that Errol used his influence to have secret aerial shots of Pearl Harbor filmed during the production of "Dive Bomber", which he funnelled to German Intelligence ("Abwehr"), and thence to the Japanese to help plan their attack.
    He also had Flynn at a secret nazi confab in the Bahamas with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and other British traitors. These were only two "for instances" of this kind of thing. Then he had Flynn "spy controlled" by Dr. Julius Erben, a low-level Abwehr agent....with documents (supposedly) to "prove" it.

    In short order, all Higham's claims came crashing down in the face of REAL research by REAL researchers digging up REAL facts.
    All the times Higham had Flynn meeting with "Nazis" in Europe, he could not have done so, as all the Warner Brothers' shooting logs still exist and Flynn's whereabouts can be tracked meticulously. Higham hadn't counted on that when he began his smear campaign. In fact, on the very day when Highman had Errol "conspiring" in the Bahamas with the Windsors, the actor was, in fact, standing on a log across a stream in Chico. California, facing Alan Hale with a quarterstaff while William Keighly directed the meeting of Robin Hood and Little John for "The Adventures of...". And, as for "Dive Bomber", the Japanese ALREADY HAD their Pearl Harbor mockups built (courtesy of Honolulu spies)and were preparing for the raid WHILE "DIVE BOMBER" WAS IN PRODUCTION....AT SAN DIEGO...NOT PEARL HARBOR!!!!
    Situations like this...CONNIVANCES....turned up everywhere in the Higham book. And the "documentation" he offered turned out to be edited out of context, and, in some cases, the blacked out names didn't relate to Flynn at all...Higham just CLAIMED they did. But originals obtained under the Freedom of Information Act proved the distortions here as well. And Dr. Erben? Well he WAS a German agent, but he only knew Flynn briefly, and ,interviewed before his death, he affirmed that Errol had NEVER been a German agent, that he...Erben...had used Flynn's celebrity to gain him access to people, but that Flynn himself never realized he was being used in this manner. It should also be noted that the Abwehr, under Adm. Wilhelm Canaris, worked secretly more AGAINST Hitler's Nazis than FOR them. aided in the assassination plots AGAINST Hitler, and, by war's end, had been disbanded and taken over by the SS and its leaders executed.In fact there is strong reason to believe Abwehr may have been half-connected to the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. So even if Flynn might have UNKNOWINGLY been "associated" with this ANTI-Nazi German intelligence organization, that might not have been such a bad thing after all!
    As to the homosexual pedophile stuff, none other than Flynn's old arch-enemy BETTE DAVIS stepped forward to declare that a "crock". Said that sounded like Orry-Kelly malarkey, Orry-Kelly being a Warner's costumer in "the day". According to Davis, Kelly delighted in spreading nasty, vicious, hurtful rumors about people who "crossed him"...and Errol did that from time to time.
    To have "Queen Bette" the Flynn-hater come to his defense was astounding enough, but then the OTHER shoe dropped. JOAN CRAWFORD, Bette Davis' OWN arch enemy, came out BACKING BETTE!!! Crawford, who'd once called Flynn "The most beautiful man who ever lived", said the gay stories sounded EXACTLY like something that would come out of Orry-Kelly; that if you'd ever worked at Warners you'd have picked up on it immediately.

    An amazing happening. Bette Davis defending Errol Flynn and Joan Crawford backing her up. Shades of the Apocalypse.

    Though now totally discredited among those who KNOW, many uninformed people still are under the impression this hog swill was true.It all needs to be set right. The DVD "Adventures of Errol Flynn" in this collection attacks the old tale, Tony Thomas in "Errol Flynn, The Spy Who Never Was", demolishes it handily, as does Flynn's stunt double Buster Wiles in "Errol & Me". The Walt Disney movie "The Rocketeer" unhappily plays with the smear job, featuring Timothy Dalton made up as Flynn (though called "Neville Sinclair") and casts him as the dastardly villain Charles Higham worked so to make him appear(and the "why" of it has never been learned).I am a fan of the "Rocketeer" movie but this aspect of it has always distressed me.

    But it looks like Errol's turn is coming around again. This "Signature Collection" puts him center stage again and he deserves the limelight. "Elizabeth & Essex" lets him act, and "The Adventures of..." outlines his life. But "Captain Blood", "The Sea Hawk", "They Died With Their Boots On" and "Dodge City" show perfectly what it was he did...and how he did it...that let him charm America and the world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must for all Flynn Fans!
    This is a great collector's set.
    Absolutely fantastic!
    The movies are the best and the documentary is extremely well done.
    Seeing Olivia again was the best part. A class act at all times and still a beauty!
    I strongly urge all of you fans of Errol Flynn to pick up this boxed set.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but...
    Warners gives you good value here: multiple titles at one low price, plus the TCM documentary that aired early in '05.

    HOWEVER, it would have been nice if the color flicks ("Elizabeth and Essex" and "Dodge City") had been given the same loving restoration that Time-Warner bestowed on "The Adventures of Robin Hood."Both of these titles have color edging in various shots -- caused by uneven shrinkage of the three acetate negatives used in three-strip Technicolor.For "D.C. and "E & E" no such time, energy and moolah was wasted, so there are times when you think your vision is failing as you gaze at the blurry images.

    Nevertheless, it's a good package.Let's just hope that next time they digitally tweak the color and delete the print dirt and scratches.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE ULTIMATE ACTION STAR OF THE 30'S AND 40'S
    The Adventures of Robin Hood Special Edition DVD that came out a couple of years ago was simply one of the greatest DVDs ever.But Flynn's films have been slow to come out on DVD and so it makes this set a veritable treasure chest for the dashing Flynn.The great thing is that Warner Bros. didn't go on the cheap and just throw these five films on disc...as with Robin Hood they are givig us a number of extras with the collector in mind.Again they have Leonard Maltin introducing each feature with the Warner Night at the Movies with short features and cartoons so you can simulate what it would have been like to go to the theater back in the era.This is really a great touch.Add to that each film has been re-mastered and looks fantastic.Also included is the outstanding new TCM documentary on Flynn.I had just seen this on TV a few weeks ago and it was just magnificent and features interviews with Olivia De Haviland, Flynn's daughter and former wives, and others who worked with the star.Absolutely fascinating!

    Besides Robin Hood, my two favorite Flynn Films are Captain Blood & The Sea Hawk.In Captain Blood from 1935, Flynn plays Dr. Peter Blood, an English physician unjustly convicted of treason and sentenced to slavery in the West Indies. Relying on only courage and brains, he escapes from his captors and becomes the legendary pirate known as Captain Blood, a brilliant swordsman and seaman whose crew is comprised of several of his fellow former slaves. Olivia de Havilland plays Arabella Bishop, the dashing pirate captain's romantic interest (and niece of the evil plantation owner and slaver, Colonel Bishop, who is played by Lionel Atwill). Sparks fly between Captain Blood and Arabella as their tempestuous relationship builds, and the conflict between Blood and builds as well as the pirate captain and his crew start to not only believe that they can fight Colonel Bishop, but they can win . . . .

    Basil Rathbone did his usual fine job as Flynn's rival (except for his attempt at a French accent!) Captain Levasseur. Also along is long time Flynn drinking buddy Alan Hale. The Young Olivia De Havilland, has never looked more beautiful, and you can see the chemistry between her and Flynn almost immediately. They would go on to star in seven more films together!!

    The Sea Hawk, 1940 - Along with Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk completes a grand trilogy of Flynn Swashbucklers and forever cemented his role as the king of that genre. Rousing action and grand battle scenes highlight this film as Flynn plays Captain Thorpe, an English privateer who is secretly given permission by Queen Elizabeth to attack Spanish ships in anticipation of war between the two countries. To the rest of the world, Thorpe is still a pirate, however.

    The specatacular opening sequence has Thorpe and his crew capturing a Spanish Galleon and taking the booty back to England. Thorpe soon finds himself attracted to the daughter of Spain's new ambassador Dona Maria Alvarez de Cordoba played by Brenda Marshall, making for some fun scenes. But England's devious Lord Wolfingham is in league with the Spanish and helps set a trap for Thorpe and his crew, ultimately capturing them and chaining them aboard a Spanish ship. Thorpe and his crew must now free themselves and hope to get back to England to help rescue them from the Spanish attack.

    Flora Robson is absolutely brilliant as Queen Elizabeth, capturing the look that we've always seen in paintings of that famous ruler. Flynn's good friend and drinking buddy Alan Hale again is along for the ride as first mate Carl Pitt. The chemistry between these two was always magnificent. The only real cast weak link was Henry Daniell as Lord Wolfingham. He simply could not compete with Basil Rathbone as Flynn's villianous foe.

    The film was directed by Michael Curtiz, one of the finest directors of the 30's and 40's and who had already directed Flynn in Captain Blood, Charge of the Light Brigade, and The Adventures of Robin Hood. He and Flynn often clashed but there's no denying that Curtiz always got the best out of Flynn.

    I don't think you can argue much with any of the films included in this collection although I personally would like to have seen "Charge of the Light Brigade", "The Prince and the Pauper" or "Objective Burma" over the "Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" since I'm not a big Bette Davis fan.All in all this is simply a great colleciton of films from one of Hollywood's true legends.

    4-0 out of 5 stars His Wicked, Wicked Adventure Films
    This is not the definitive collection of Errol Flynn's best movies as Warner Brothers held back "The Adventures of Robin Hood", "The Dawn Patrol" plus his other films made under director Raoul Walsh. Obviously they will go into a second collection. But this is not a bad set as four of the films are excellent with only one clonker in the group (the movie adaption of the Broadway play, "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex").

    The Collection retails for $42 while to buy the four action films separately ("Dodge City", "Boots", "The Sea Hawk", and "Captain Blood") would cost you well over $60. Plus you have thrown in the various extras and the exclusive documentary of his life in this Collection.

    If the viewer likes Errol Flynn as the charming rogue in his film roles and enjoys the Hollywood action spectacles prior to WW II, then you will enjoy this set. Mr. Flynn starred in over 60 movies, wrote three books and two screenplays. His gift for storytelling (and the truth as he saw it) is on display in his witty autobiography, "My Wicked, Wicked Ways." ... Read more


    7. Anne Of Green Gables - The Sequel
    Director: Kevin Sullivan
    list price: $34.99
    our price: $26.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005Y7AN
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 882
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    8. The Complete Jeeves & Wooster Megaset
    list price: $129.95
    our price: $97.46
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    Asin: B00006AVRK
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2138
    Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Bertie Wooster is feeling a bit shy of the mark when his new valet reports for duty, bringing with him a much-needed cure for the effects of the previous night's excesses. On the strength of this sterling debut, Jeeves is formally retained, and the unsuspecting servant is thrown headlong into the glorious mix of overbearing aunts, unbidden guests, friends in need and romantic entanglements that is Bertie's lot in life.

    To millions of devoted fans, P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" stories are a delightful obsession, an irresistible and irreverent romp through the drawing rooms of Edwardian England's tweedy elite. Now, these comic masterpieces come to life in acclaimed productions with an extraordinary cast that features Hugh Laurie (Sense and Sensibility, Strapless) as the well-meaning but dim aristocrat Bertie Wooster, and Stephen Fry (Wilde, Cold Comfort Farm) as Jeeves, his hilariously arch and resourceful valet. This 8-DVD collector's set includes 23 digitally restored and remastered episodes. ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    5-0 out of 5 stars ...
    These discs are worth the price. You 'll get the full flavor of P.G. Wodehouse's great books by watching these wonderful stories again and again. With the bumbling dim witted Wooster and his quick witted valet Jeeves they go from one pratfall to another.
    Each story is full of great characters and fun from beginning to end. So join Barmey, Stinker Pinker, and Tuppy as they, along with Balmey and Stiffy, help poor Berty with the problems of life. Pip Pip and Cherrio.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What Ho Jeeves!
    I've enjoyed watching this series from it's inception. What has been interesting is sharing it with my family. My kids were only in grade school when they first watched, and they seemed to get as big a kick out of them as us old parents did. Now they are devoted Wodehouse fans and enjoy his other stories too. The characters seem to enjoy being dragged thru the ringer of the old master PGW. If you enjoy comedy, 1920's flavor styles and music, sumptuous sets, or even gorgeous views of old England, you should enjoy these enough to bear through them with pluck and your chin up.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wish I Were English
    Well, Its like this. Not to long ago an old chump of mine decided to lay on me these televised versions of a previously unheard of cluster of books. With serious hindsight I should have just dismissed the dratted things, but you should know that the future happened to elude me just then, and I launched myself into them with all the gusto of an alley cat onto a fishbone. In fact the whole bally idea of it rather struck me.

    To be perfectly honest, I must say that it was hard to say no to after the pitch I was given. My sword swingin comrade said in no uncertain terms, and with a polite slowness that keeps me on the right level, that I would like them, that they were good, and that he would stand behind me with said sword and make sure I laughed. At first I gathered that he was laying it on a bit thick, but when I saw the fevered intensity that broke out into a sweat across his face, I knew that he was sure of himself.

    They were dashed nonsense really, but I couldn't help but take a liking to them. Seeing an English gent trying to fix situational problems when he seems to be missing a bit of grey matter is all well and good, but I felt nothing but relief each time his valet was brought onto the scene to take matters into his own hands.

    Wooster (the grey matter missing chap), is a likable fellow. Always willing to help out a friend in need, which usually lands him into a tight spot, while Jeeves (the aforementioned valet), has a mind that can tackle the toughest issues, and is willing to do so as long as Wooster can stay within Jeeves's fashion limits.

    Along the way I encountered an odd, but strangely refreshing cast. From jolly old fish-face, to the newt toting Finknottle. From a multitude of Brittish gals who have the wrong idea that Wooster is madly in love with them, to an array of aunts who can't wait to find something wrong with the poor chap. (...) And I can't forget to mention the mob of friends who flit from one romance to the next.

    After sitting through all four seasons in a short 3 or 4 week time, I realized that Wooster was a part of me and I couldn't very well give up the poor fellow.

    I have of late found myself reading a dashed good novel called "Life With Jeeves", also provided by my previous mentioned chum. Supposedly it was written by P.G. Woodhouse, but I know it was really Wooster himself just using a pen name, after getting the idea from his friend Bingo who once gave him the false name of Rosie M. Banks, a popular novelist of her time. I know this because he wrote it in first person, and someone calls him by his real name at least once every page.

    I am so infatuated that I have taken to prowling on Amazon, watching all the Jeeves and Wooster pages (and there are a lot of them), waiting for any fresh reviews to satisfy my new needs.

    Just remember, your review had better be a bally good one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Most(ly) Impeccable, sir !
    Amongst the myriad fields of art and aesthetics, it can be argued that the medium of comedy contains the greatest level of subjectivity for its audience. That which makes one man laugh will make another weep (or sneer), and vice-versa; the polarities of 'funny' tend to fall into the time-honored wit-slots of lowbrow (Adam Sandler pleb-fests), middlebrow (mainstream sitcoms), and highbrow (satire, tongue-in-cheek obscurest in-joshing). Alas, the boundaries between 'brows are vast, virulently defended, and rarely surmounted by either artist or audience... and as to which is truly 'better,' well, that is (I repeat) a subjective preference: for each represents a facet of humanity - from the all-encompassing exit-point of the gutter to the slick exclusivity of the Ivory Tower - and should be respected as such. The language and technique may differ, yet under the surface the similarities cannot be denied - for as any Buddhist will happily tell you, comedy thrives on *suffering*: the pain and folly of humanity exposed, ridiculed, and reduced in turn by the cathartic chuckle; our redundancies, egocentricies, idiocies and plain tomfoolery encapsulated for exorcism and/or easy digestion.

    Rare is it for one to find a comedy that deftly blends the best elements of all three 'brow aesthetics' into a humor-vehicle that is at once escapist and illuminating. *Wooster and Jeeves*, an A&E adaptation of the P.G. Wodehouse serial-novels of the same name, achieves this exceptional distinction. With its natural dialogue (culled directly from the source material), impeccable comic timing and excellent acting, along with an extremely refreshing variation on the standard development-of-conflict/culmination-of-tension sitcom-structure, *Wooster and Jeeves* towers over the dross and diminished returns of mainstream H-wood offerings, exposing the implicit poverty of ultra-recycled miscommunication-muddling, senseless slapstick, lowest-common-denominator joke-dialogue and imbecilic 'shock' theatrics. This is one for the archives.

    *Wooster and Jeeves* centers around one Bertram Wooster (Hugh Laurie), an archetypical English wealth-scion of the flapper '20s (i.e. a playboy and all-around fop), and Jeeves (Stephen Fry), his sophisticated valet. Bertie has devoted his existence to simple pleasures: afternoon excursions to the local gentleman's club for drinks and nine-ball; the occasional golf-game in the countryside; learning all the newest tunes on his piano (and, distressingly, a trombone). But this peaceful existence is constantly threatened by his relatives and school-chum companions, who endeavor often-as-not to involve him in their half-witted shenanigans (often via blackmail), or seek to marry him off so as to be 'molded' into an upstanding citizen. Luckily Bertie has Jeeves, his upper-crust manservant of philosophical bent, photographic memory and astonishing reliability, to help him wriggle free from these various entanglements/entrapments: "you're a rare bird, Jeeves!" Bertie invariably exclaims upon hearing the elegant, simple solutions his valet conjures. Indeed, compared to the lassitude and loathsome irresponsibility run rampant in Bertie's circle of the privileged (...peacocks, puff-adders and/or prunes), Jeeves is a pillar and a paragon, far more cultivated in his education and moral fortitude than any of the noble-rank he so impeccably serves. This could be considered a cliché, and with good reason - but we must remember that clichés often have a strong basis in reality, and such is the case here. Wooster & co., born with the silver spoon firmly placed in mouth, have never had to struggle for anything: thus, stressful occasion is usually invented or invited, for excitement, a 'lark', a means to obtain the suffering so key in delineating character and defining pleasure, whereas Jeeve's fortitude is all self-made, stamped upon soul and sinew through years of willing trial.

    But I digress. The one thing I like most about *Wooster and Jeeves,* aside from the top-notch writing, acting, set-design and dramatic construction, is the fact that it sidesteps the typical tension-build of very nearly all comedy. In the usual spate of sitcom and other 'brow-aesthetics,' a situation is introduced, complications ensue, and with an unhealthy over-reliance of miscommunication, the tension is milked and milked until 'release' - long after the outcome has been thoroughly predicted by the jaded audience. In each episode of *Wooster and Jeeves*, however, the writers have combined several of Wodehouse's short stories, therein threading events, character-arcs and complications into a sinuous storm of tension/release. Rare is it for an uncomfortable situation to wear out its premise: not only are conflicts dispatched in a speedy and sometimes surprising manner, they often mutate into different, contrasting developments...an incredibly refreshing twist. This show is *not* milked, and there is (almost) always enough material to fill a 45-minute episode.

    Until, that is, the fourth season. All that makes this series extraordinary is astonishingly reputed in the disastrous return-to-America episodes, which stretch credibility well past the breaking point and simply are _not_ up to snuff with the prior three seasons. The Empire State Building climax of 'The Once and Future Ex' borders on disgusting parody; the castaway epilogue to 'Bridegroom Wanted' is humorous only in a surreal 'what were they thinking?' sort of way. Everything returns to normal (more or less) once Bertie and Jeeves reach England, though the spark of the show is discernable weakened afterward and even the return of powerhouse personality-clashes like that of Finknottle and Spode come of more like copycat comedy when compared to their predecessors.

    Regardless, this box set is well worth the lucre. Five stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Surprise
    I doubt many people are aware of this fine TV comedy. You are in for a fine treat if you are here. The casting is wonderful, as are the costumes, music, and set design. The series is faithful to Wodehouse's stories. If you are already a Wodehouse fan, as am I, it will give you an extra thrill to see the series rendered so flawlessly. This is definitely a collector's item to be enjoyed over and over again and shared with the family. Tinkerty Tonk! ... Read more


    9. Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand
    list price: $69.98
    our price: $41.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CXCT
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3
    Average Customer Review: 3.84 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com essential video

    Was George Lucas's Star Wars Trilogy, the most anticipated DVD release ever, worth the wait? You bet. It's a must-have for any home theater, looking great, sounding great, and supplemented by generous bonus features.

    The Movies
    The Star Wars Trilogy had the rare distinction of becoming a cultural phenomenon, a defining event for its generation. On its surface, George Lucas's story is a rollicking and humorous space fantasy that owes debts to more influences than one can count on two hands, but filmgoers became entranced by its basic struggle of good vs. evil "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away," its dazzling special effects, and a mythology of Jedi knights, the Force, and droids. Over the course of three films--A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983)--Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and the roguish Han Solo (Harrison Ford) join the Rebel alliance in a galactic war against the Empire, the menacing Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones), and eventually the all-powerful Emperor (Ian McDiarmid). Empire is generally considered the best of the films and Jedi the most uneven, but all three are vastly superior to the more technologically impressive prequels that followed, Episode I, The Phantom Menace (1999) and Episode II, Attack of the Clones (2002).

    How Are the Picture and Sound?

    Thanks to a new digital transfer, you've never seen C-3PO glow so golden, and Darth Vader's helmet is as black as the Dark Side.

    In a word, spectacular. Thanks to a new digital transfer, you've never seen C-3PO glow so golden, and Darth Vader's helmet is as black as the Dark Side. And at the climactic scene of A New Hope, see if the Dolby 5.1 EX sound doesn't knock you back in your chair. Other audio options are Dolby 2.0 Surround in English, Spanish, and French. (Sorry, DTS fans, but previous Star Wars DVDs didn't have DTS either.) There have been a few quibbles with the audio on A New Hope, however.A few seconds of Peter Cushing's dialogue ("Then name the system!") are distorted, and the music (but not the sound effects) is reversed in the rear channels.For example, in the final scene, the brass is in the front right channel but the back left channel (from the viewer's perspective), and the strings are in the left front and back right.The result feels like the instruments are crossing through the viewer.

    What's Been Changed?
    The rumors are true: Lucas made more changes to the films for their DVD debut. Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) has been added to a scene in Jedi, Ian McDiarmid (the Emperor) replaces Clive Revill with slightly revised lines in Empire, Temuera Morrison has rerecorded Boba Fett's minimal dialogue, and some other small details have been altered. Yes, these changes mean that the Star Wars films are no longer the ones you saw 20 years ago, but these brief changes hardly affect the films, and they do make sense in the overall continuity of the two trilogies. It's not like a digitized Ewan McGregor has replaced Alec Guiness's scenes, and the infamous changes made for the 1997 special-edition versions were much more intrusive (of course, those are in the DVD versions as well).

    How Are the Bonus Features?
    Toplining is Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, a 150-minute documentary incorporating not only the usual making-of nuts and bolts but also the political workings of the movie studios and the difficulties Lucas had getting his vision to the screen (for example, after resigning from the Directors' Guild, he lost his first choice for director of Jedi: Steven Spielberg). It's a little adulatory, but it has plenty to interest any fan. The three substantial featurettes are "The Characters of Star Wars" (19 min.), which discusses the development of the characters we all know and love, "The Birth of the Lightsaber" (15 min.), about the creation and evolution of a Jedi's ultimate weapon, and "The Force Is with Them: The Legacy of Star Wars" (15 min.), in which filmmakers such as Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, and James Cameron talk about how they and the industry were affected by the films and Lucas's technological developments in visual effects, sound, and computer animation.

    The bonus features are excellent and along the same lines as those created for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Each film has a commentary track, recorded by Lucas, Ben Burtt (sound design), Dennis Muren (visual effects), and Carrie Fisher, with Irvin Kershner joining in on the film he directed, The Empire Strikes Back. Recorded separately and skillfully edited together (with supertitles to identify who is speaking), the tracks lack the energy of group commentaries, but they're enjoyable and informative, with a nice mix of overall vision (Lucas), technical details (Burtt, Muren, Kershner), and actor's perspective (Fisher). Interestingly, they discuss some of the 1997 changes (Mos Eisley creatures, the new Jabba the Hutt scene) but not those made for the DVDs.

    There's also a sampler of the Xbox game Star Wars: Battlefront, which lets the player reenact classic film scenarios (blast Ewoks in the battle of Endor!); trailers and TV spots from the films' many releases; and a nine-minute preview of the last film in the series, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith (here identified by an earlier working title, The Return of Darth Vader). Small extra touches include anamorphic widescreen motion menus with dialogue, original poster artwork on the discs, and a whopping 50 chapter stops for each film.

    "The Force Is Strong with This One"
    The Star Wars Trilogy is an outstanding DVD set that lives up to the anticipation. There will always be resentment that the original versions of the films are not available as well, but George Lucas maintains that these are the versions he always wanted to make. If fans are able to put this debate aside, they can enjoy the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han for years to come. --David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (777)

    4-0 out of 5 stars I love the Star Wars Trilogy S.E., warts and all...
    I'm somewhat ambivalent about the Special Edition versions of the Star Wars trilogy. On one hand, I rather like the idea that Lucas decided to re-tool the legendary saga more towards his original vision of how he wanted them to look, using modern movie magic technology that had just been a far-off dream when he originally produced these films . On the other hand, I also feel that one should just accept a movie's shortcomings, despite the stature of legend they have attained, and just get on with life. But, I must admit that a lot of the enhancements and expansions worked fairly well, and looked convincing in most cases. Unfortunately, not ALL of the new moments passed muster in my eyes...

    I was finally glad that some of the Biggs Darklighter footage was restored to Star Wars (aka prior to the Death Star run). For many years I've heard about these cut scenes- Biggs and Luke talking about the future on Uncle Owen's moisture farm, and the hangar reunion- and had high hopes of finally seeing them. Unfortunately, only the hangar reunion was put back in. The moisture farm intro may well be forever lost...

    Another weird addition was Greedo firing first before Han plugged him from under the table in the Cantina. Talk about revisionist history! And the new Jabba scene didn't look that great to me. The CGI Jabba looks a bit too smooth. He was a good sight more wrinkled and warty in both Episode I (Before Star Wars) and Return of the Jedi. Also, you do NOT step on the tail of the most influential crime lord on the planet! I mean, I know they had to tweak the scene to make it work, but still! That should've called for Han's execution right there! Hey, is that Boba Fett hangin' out in the hangar with Jabba? Cool, now he's in all three films!

    Then there's that concentric ring of energy that flies outward after the explosions of both Alderaan and the Death Star. Aside from being an unnecessary embellishment, I found this little addition to lack originality as well. This same effect was used in the opening of 'Star Trek VI'. Whoops... I just mentioned 'Star Trek' in a 'Star Wars' review... so much for renewing my fan club membership! Heh...

    'Empire' has the fewest changes of the three. The only part I have a problem with are the scenes of Vader boarding his shuttle on Cloud City following his battle with Luke, then exiting his shuttle onto his flagship. Like the explosion rings, I found this to be an unnecessary embellishment; I already got the drift about how he got to his ship from Cloud City, all right? There's also a slight change of dialogue in one scene, following R2D2 getting spat out by the swamp monster in Dagobah. See if you can tell the difference!

    I don't have too many complaints about the "improvements" done to Return Of The Jedi, aside from yet another energy ring expanding from the explosion of the second Death Star. The new Jabba's Palace band was pretty neat, but I still prefer the original three-piece band from the original version. I guess I'm just a sentimental kinda guy. There were a few scenes cut from the original release I was hoping to see (Vader force-strangling an Imperial Guard who blocks his attempts to speak with the Emperor, and an Imperial officer being punished by another Imperial guard for insubordination)... no such luck. The expanded Ewok celebration at the end was pretty neat to watch, and included an all-new John Williams composition that has become my second-favorite 'Star Wars' tune (right behind 'The Imperial March- Darth Vader's Theme', from The Empire Strikes Back of course).

    I'm not an absolutist about the widescreen format, but in the case of the Star Wars trilogy, it's an absolute necessity. There's just too much happening on both sides of the screen, and you're likely to miss something important. In this case wider IS better.

    I just wish they'd finally release these movies on DVD. Like many of the other Amazon reviewers, I too am getting a bit fed up of the constant VHS re-releases. Let's get with the times here!

    'Late!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best DVD's Ever
    When the Star Wars trilogy arrives on DVD on September 21, the digitally remastered and restored films will be accompanied by over 10 hours of bonus material that goes inside the making of these classic movies.

    Each film resides on its own disc, with sharp, pristene imagery restored and remastered by Lowry Digital Images, and the rich sound experience of the saga presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX. The films also include new commentary tracks, featuring insights from George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner, actress Carrie Fisher, sound designer Ben Burtt, and Industrial Light & Magic's Dennis Muren.

    The fourth disc is packed with bonus material, the most notable being Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. This two-and-a-half hour documentary traces the evolution of the saga, from a low-budget labor-of-love space saga to the movie phenomenon that defied the odds and reinvented the rules.

    This comprehensive documentary features all new interviews with George Lucas and more than 40 members of the cast and crew from the original trilogy, as well as a host of filmmakers and media personalities. Empire of Dreams includes some never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the three films.

    Other material on the fourth disc includes:

    Episode III Behind the Scenes Preview: The Return of Darth Vader: Finally, Star Wars: Episode III will reveal just how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, the most iconic villain in film history. In this exclusive preview, George Lucas discusses Anakin's descent, with a first look at the new Vader costume forged for Episode III. Also, experience how Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor have prepared for the epic lightsaber battle that has been anticipated for more than two decades: the climactic showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    The Birth of the Lightsaber: Its unforgettable hum and scintillating glow are instantly recognizable around the world. Now, viewers will discover the origins of this elegant weapon from a more civilized age in this documentary devoted to the lightsaber.

    The Characters of Star Wars: An in-depth look at how favorite characters came to be, featuring rare concept art, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with George Lucas and the cast and crew who shaped the screen's favorite heroes.

    The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars: Star Wars opened up a galaxy of possibilities to a generation of filmmakers and creative talents. Hear from some of the most notable filmmakers of our time about how influential the Star Wars movies have been to their lives.

    Star Wars Battlefront Trailer and Playable Demo: The fourth disc will offer a trailer featuring an exciting look at the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront video game from LucasArts, along with a special demo for Xbox users that lets players fight the Battle of Endor as a Rebel or Imperial soldier and drive AT-STs, ride speeder bikes and use different weapons to lead their side to victory. The full version of Star Wars Battlefront will also be released Sept. 21 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC.

    Star Wars: Episode III Making the Game Preview: Video-game players will be able to experience the stunning Jedi action of Episode III themselves in the new Star Wars: Episode III game, due out in Spring 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This special feature shows how game developers at LucasArts worked behind-the-scenes and on the set to create the most authentic Jedi experience ever.

    Original Trailers and TV Spots: The original theatrical teaser, launch and re-release trailers for each film, plus TV spots, are featured on the DVD.

    Never-Before-Seen Production Gallery: Delve into an unseen corners of the Lucasfilm Archives with exclusive photos from the making of the trilogy, with hundreds of rare behind-the-scene images.

    Posters and Print Campaigns: The original releases of the Star Wars films came at a time when international campaigns produced a wealth of intriguing, alternative poster art. Explore a collection of theatrical posters from around the world.

    Exclusive DVD-ROM Content: The Star Wars Trilogy DVDs are keys that unlock exclusive content available only through a special DVD-ROM website.

    5-0 out of 5 stars M-I-G-H-T-Y F-I-N-E
    the star wars trilogy was byfar the best trilogy I have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!! all of the star wars movies were MIGH-TY FINE, and to the guy that said star wars was a LOTR rippoff, I can't see where you are going with your story, its nothing like LOTR, and I for one are one of those people you were talking about and as long as the star wars movies come out i'll help make Lucas richer!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
    I just recently purchased a DVD player and knew that the Star Wars Trilogy would have to be in my collection ASAP. Of course I've these three movies many, many times, but for some reason I never tire of seeing them again. The first one brings back many childhood memories (my brother had a Star Wars themed bedroom!) and it's comforting to put it on just to have as background noise when my apartment gets too quiet. I guess that is the true meaning of a classic movie - you love it so much that it becomes a part of yourself.

    The added interviews and such on this DVD were pretty insightful to me and the bonus disc of "never before seen" footage from making the three movies had me giddy with delight!

    I can't imagine anyone not wanting to have this set in their collection!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Lord of The RIngs Ripoff!!!
    The Star Wars legacy was directly stolen from The Lord of The Rings novels, which were publised in the 1950s. It's shameless, I tell you, shameless!

    First there's Luke Skywalker, who has to leave behind his friends to face the evil all alone. But he gets to take along a little droid named R2-D2. This is obviously based on Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings. Then there are the wise Jedi Masters, Yoda and Obi Wan Kanobe. These two characters were obviously based on Tolkien's Gandalf.

    Han Solo is a carbon copy of Aragorn. Princess Liea, the warrior hottie, is a ripoff of Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings. Chewbacca is just a ripoff of Gimli. And what about Boba Fett, the mysterious loner who is loyal to no one, who is only out for himself? This is just a ripoff of Gollum. The Death Star is really Mount Doom. Darth Vader is Saruman, and The Empoeror is Saruman.

    And then there's Lando Calrisian, who is stolen from J.R.R. Tolkein's character King Theoden. You know, the cowardly ruler who bow's down to the bad guy, then finds his courage to fight! The storm toopers are just Orcs. And the most shameless ripoff of all is the Imperial Walkers in Empire Strikes Back! They are just like the Mumakil monsters in Lord of the Rings.

    I can't believe how George Lucas become so filthy rich through thievery!! ... Read more


    10. The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $20.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNII
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 241
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

    Read our CD buying guide
    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    11. Young Frankenstein (Special Edition)
    Director: Mel Brooks
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6305168857
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 222
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    If you were to argue that Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein ranks among the top-ten funniest movies of all time, nobody could reasonably dispute the claim. Spoofing classic horror in the way that Brooks's previous film Blazing Saddles sent up classic Westerns, the movie is both a loving tribute and a raucous, irreverent parody of Universal's classic horror films Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Filming in glorious black and white, Brooks re-created the Frankenstein laboratory using the same equipment from the original Frankenstein (courtesy of designer Kenneth Strickfaden), and this loving attention to physical and stylistic detail creates a solid foundation for nonstop comedy. The story, of course, involves Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) and his effort to resume experiments in re-animation pioneered by his late father. (He's got some help, since dad left behind a book titled How I Did It.) Assisting him is the hapless hunchback Igor (Marty Feldman) and the buxom but none-too-bright maiden Inga (Teri Garr), and when Frankenstein succeeds in creating his monster (Peter Boyle), the stage is set for an outrageous revision of the Frankenstein legend. With comedy highlights too numerous to mention, Brooks guides his brilliant cast (also including Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, and Gene Hackman in a classic cameo role) through scene after scene of inspired hilarity. Indeed, Young Frankenstein is a charmed film, nothing less than a comedy classic, representing the finest work from everyone involved. Not one joke has lost its payoff, and none of the countless gags have lost their zany appeal. From a career that includes some of the best comedies ever made, this is the film for which Mel Brooks will be most fondly remembered. Befitting a classic, the Special Edition DVD includes audio commentary by Mel Brooks, a "making of" documentary, interviews with the cast, hilarious bloopers and outtakes, and the original theatrical trailers. No video library should be without a copy of Young Frankenstein. And just remember--that's Fronkensteen. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (219)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I have a "hunch" you'll love this!
    Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) wants nothing more than his job teaching biology at the university, the love of his life Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn), and to put behind him the legacy of his grandfather, the infamous Baron Viktor von Frankenstein. He never planned on inheriting his ancestral castle complete with assistants (Marty Feldman, Terri Garr, Cloris Leachman). He never planned on finding his grandfather's notes . He didn't plan to reanimate a corpse (Peter Boyle) with an abnormal brain. And he certainly didn't plan for said corpse to get loose...

    Put that way, this hardly sounds like a comedy at all. Ah, but Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, like Dr. Frankenstein, have deftly grafted inspired lunacy to a touching and solid story and given their creation life. Wordplay, slapstick, innuedno, sight gags and cinema's most memorable musical scene combine in a hilarious brew. Yet it is the original core, the story of the deformed oucast and the creator who ultimately redeem each other, that keeps it all from simply being vaudeville. Peter and Gene are fabulous at being silly and sincere simultaneously.

    On to the extras! The trailers and production stills are nice, standard fare. The outakes are little disappointing. Several of the clips are close-up shots of a single performer, the camera never moving, so we hear the cast and crew cracking up, but don't always understand why. Some of the deleted scenes were pretty funny, and a shame they didn't make it into the final cut. The making of documentary interviews several of the key figures and does a good job of exposing what exactly it took to make the film. (Note to techno-geeks: not much detail on special effects, if that's your thing.) Also, there a couple of interviews done for a Mexican studio with Marty and Gene (don't worry, they also speak English).

    Did you ever watch old home movies with, say, an uncle who'd reminisce and sometimes just make silly comments about what's going on? OK, now imagine that your uncle is Mel Brooks and that his home movie is this multi-million dollar spectacle. That's what the comentary track is like. It was really neat to hear not only what Mel had in mind for the various scenes, but his unabashed adulation at the creative talent he had to work with. He even talks about the fellow who plays Inspector Kemp's chauffeur!

    All in all, a wonderful movie with a good helping of juicy extras.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Homage to Horror
    This is probably Mel Brook's finest work, though some might vote for Blazing Saddles or the Producers. Not me, though. I'll take this one. In a tribute to the old horror movies of yore, Brooks puts together the perfect cast to carry it out. Gene Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced FRONKENSTEEN), Marty Feldman as Igor (pronounced EYEGORE), Teri Garr as the lab assistant Inga, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, and my personal favorite from the movie Madeline Khan. Her scene with Marty Feldman standing at the doorway of the castle and the one where she saunters into the bedroom looking like Elsa Lanchester are both absolute total screams. The great thing about the cast is the fact that they all are in total flow with the movie and with each other. The DVD has many extra features which makes it miles ahead of the VHS tape.

    3-0 out of 5 stars "Roll, roll, roll in ze hay."
    Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" is not only a loving tribute to James Whale's original Frankenstein films, but a wildly entertaining spoof that still generates laughs years after its original release. This is Brooks in his prime and that is indeed a wonderful sight to behold.

    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is the grandson of the notorious Victor Frankenstein. After reviewing his grandfather's work, Frederick tries to recreate the famous reanimation experiment at his ancestral castle. Frederick succeeds in bringing his own creation to life but as luck would have it, there is a problem with the brain implanted in the monster (Peter Boyle). Soon, the monster is roaming the countryside and finding itself in one hilarious situation after another until Frederick catches up with him and promptly puts his tap-dancing talents to good use.

    "Young Frankenstein" is blessed with top quality comedic performances from start to finish. Wilder and Boyle are pitch perfect as the doctor and his creation and the supporting cast of Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Terri Garr, Cloris Leachman, and Gene Hackman all shine. The production design also is top notch as the Frankenstein Castle's interiors and exteriors are faithfully recreated - with the help of some of the original props - in glorious black and white and literally look like holdover sets from Universal's "Frankenstein" (1931) and "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935). You would never think that source material like Mary Shelley's original work could inspire such a funny film, but leave it to Brooks to prove it could be done.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "PARDON ME BOY...IS THIS THE TRANSYLVANIA STATION?"
    "Yah, yah, track twenty-nine...I hope you make it in time!" Non stop gags; a terrific atmosphere, worthy of the classic Universal Frankenstein movies we all know and love...James Whale would have LOVED this! Whenever the name Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman) is mentioned, the horses go into a frenzy of neighs; GREAT stuuf. At night in the graveyard, Igor (Pronounced EYE-GORE) and Wilder are digging up a corpse (digging because Igor took the wrong brain...Abby Normal!) for their nefarious lab work; Wilder starts complaining and Igor (Feldman) says: "Could be worse....could be raining." No sooner are the words out of his mouth then we hear a terrific crash of thunder, then see lightning, and then the skies open up. Then Igor says: "I have a hunch..." This is so funny it can make you sick from laughing; when Peter Boyle, as Frankenstein's Monster, launches into his famous "Puttin' on the Ritz" you are pretty much over the edge and barely able to breathe any more. One of my favorite lines is when Igor is driving Wilder to the Castle and there is a howl in the distance; Wilder says nervously: "What was that?" And Igor replies: "Werewolf." Wilder: "Werewolf?" Igor: "There...wolf."
    Feldman, Wilder and Cloris Leachman are wonderful in this, and it was shot, appropriately, in black and white. I was fortunate enough to be at the studio when this was being shot and went onto the set and opened a door in the Castle and there were Peter Boyle, Wilder and Feldman all sitting around a table, taking a break...and Boyle had the most sickening shade of green make-up all over his face; he looked terrific. the sets were fantastic, and it was a thrill to be allowed to see them all. Great stuff and a very funny movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars comedy at its best
    Young Frankenstein is one of the few movies that EVERYONE knows. The actors do an excellent job of delivering the great "slap-stick" comedy throughout the film. The entire movie is also delivered in black and white to give it that old horror film feeling, and takes place mostly in the castle of Dr. Frankenstein. Now that the infamous Dr. Frankenstein has passed, his grandson, Fredrick, goes to the castle.

    While in the castle he falls upon his grand fathers old library and realizes that bringing people back to life after death could work, and creates a fully operational hulk! This movie is great if you ahve a sharp grasp on humor and a bit of information from the timespan. Some jokes will pass right over the heads of some of the younger viewers, such as the scene where Dr. FRONKenstein (as he likes to be called) arrives at the train station at track 29 and a boy asks if he can give him a shine. Me being a high school student, i am greatful that my jazz choir sang the chatanooga choo choo or i would have never understood that one. in conclusion the movie is a hilarious collection of old cliches about horror movies, yet never gets tiresome like some of monty pythons movies. A great, entertaining trip to Transylvania awaits you! ... Read more


    12. In Good Company (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Paul Weitz
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007VZ9D0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 109
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Nowadays it's rare to find a movie that pays attention to human weakness as well as strength, and that sees a whole person as having both. When a sports magazine gets bought by a media conglomerate, an ad sales executive named Dave Foreman (Dennis Quaid, The Rookie) finds himself playing second-in-command to Carter Duryea, a hotshot barely half his age (Topher Grace, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!) whose marriage has just fallen apart. One evening Carter invites himself over to Dave's house to escape his loneliness, where he meets Dave's daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation). The two strike immediate sparks and when they run into each other later in the city, a relationship begins--which they discreetly keep from Dave. But the heart of the movie is not in its plot, but in the way that Dave responds to the news that his wife is pregnant, or how Carter tries to fortify his self-image with a new car. These aren't jokes; the actors inhabit these moments fully and turn them into psychological events. Quaid plays Dave as a simple man, but his straightforwardness feels genuine (rather than a failure of the writer's imagination). Grace and Johansson have terrific chemistry as lovers, but so do Grace and Quaid, both as rivals and as a substitute father and son. In Good Company isn't likely to win any awards, but it's honest and honorable; there's a core of truth to its characters and their problems aren't resolved too neatly. Sometimes, that's worth watching. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (59)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Moral Fable Never Gets Sappy
    Dennis Quaid plays a 51-year-old father of two daughters and head of a sales division for a sporting magazine. After a buyout, he is demoted and has a new boss, a 26-year-old coffee-drinking yuppie full of corporate speak and blind ambition who falls in love with Quaid's gorgeous daughter. The father's self-worth is tested savagely in this comic film which, exploring the absurdity and brutality of the corporate world, actually has a moral message about integrity and being true to yourself. It's rare that a comedy is both funny and packed with moral meaning as it attempts to find redemption for the father and his new boss. For a darker look at corporate life with no redemption for the characters, check out the bleak and nihilistic In the Company of Men by Neil LeBute.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not exactly what I expected.
    Dennis Quaid gives a magnificent performance as a long-time salesman who's proud of his work, and who suddenly loses his status when he gets demoted. Topher Grace plays the new boss, and he's terrific as an obnoxious but charming kid on a power trip. Quaid and Grace's awkward, amusing, and (eventually) fond friendship is the crux of the film, and the best reason to see it. The movie's flaws: First, it's slow at times, I expected more inter-office interaction. Second, for a film about cold corporations and job insecurity, the comedy is less sharp than it could be. It's almost as if the movie is too light for its subject. Characters get laid off but you never see how it would hurt their families. The only really bad thing that happens to anyone is that they have to take out a second mortgage! Another reason the comedy is so lightweight is that there no major bad guys to make fun of. Quaid and Grace (who lays off Quaid's colleagues) represent different business philosophies, but they're both essentially good-hearted. Only one or two characters are slightly villainous, and they're on screen for just a couple minutes.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent satire
    "In Good Company" is a lovely movie - part romance, part drama, part satire. It strays occasionally into the obvious, but, overall, it's enormously entertaining. While the satire and drama elements are marred by pat endings, the romance part is given a blissfully hopeful, rather than a happy, ending.

    Dan [Dennis Quaid] is a high powered advertising executive at a big sports magazine. At age 52, he's at the top of his game. Out of nowhere, his company is bought by a media conglomerate headed by a billionaire megalomaniac. To Dan's horror, his new boss is a 26-year old kid named Carter [Topher Grace]. In typical early 21st Century fashion, Carter has arrived through sheer ambition and charm. He has zero experience in advertising. Carter does, however, have some experience in romance. He meets and falls deeply in love with Alex [Scarlett Johansson]. As fate would have it. Alex is Dan's daughter.

    The acting here is superior. Quaid was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Johansson is one of the best young actresses working today. The revelation is Grace, prior to this best known for his role in a hit sitcom. Here he creates one of the more memorable movie characters in recent movies.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Funny and original
    Genre: Indie Comedy

    Genre Grade: B+

    Final Grade: B

    This movie was disguised as somewhat more of a romantic comedy, but it indeed was not. It did have some of that in it, but mostly the movie was about the connection of a younger, naive boss taking on the older, experienced salesman. There was some hilarious moments and some really cheesy, odd ones too, but overall it had a good feel to it and was a good movie. The best part about this movie was the music - from The Shins, Damien Rice, and Iron & Wine. Unfortunately, Iron & Wine is the only bad that appears on the soundtrack to the movie. Bad mistake!

    On a side note, this movie does not have a cliche Hollywood ending, but rather a more realistic approach to a very possible situation. Some people may not like the ending because of that, but I applaud the creators of this film for doing what they did. Wandering outside the box is something more movies should do these days. I would compare this movie to Garden State, and while Garden State may have seemingly followed the Hollywood guidelines more than this film did, I just think it was more appropriate in that film, because of the depth of the connection between Zach Braff and Natalie Portman. I don't think Scarlett Johannson and Topher Grace shared as much of a connection. Or maybe they did, but that was not the entire focus of this movie.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not the greatest movie!
    Kind of cute. I really thought I would have liked this movie, it was really great until the end of it.They could have done better on the end, kind of cheap.It definetly deserves three stars. ... Read more


    13. Assault on Precinct 13 (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Jean-François Richet
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007W7I4W
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 102
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Action buffs will have a fine time with the spray of bullets, shattering glass, and pyrotechnic silliness that makes up the bulk of Assault on Precinct 13. Updated from the little-known cops-and-robbers classic John Carpenter made in 1976 (two years before he made his name with Halloween), this high-concept thriller is mostly a lowbrow kill-fest, and is very happy with itself for being so efficient in both categories. A decrepit police station on its last night before retirement--New Year's Eve, no less--plays unexpected home to a gang of criminals who become snowbound in the basement lockup. Another mysterious gang of people who stealthily gather in the blizzard outside want one of the particularly nasty criminals (Laurence Fishburne) dead, and they'll take the rest of the precinct down too, by golly. The odd lot of characters trapped inside include a burned-out sergeant (Ethan Hawke), a sexpot secretary (post-Sopranos Drea de Matteo), an even sexier police psychologist (Maria Bello), and various other good guys and bad guys who variously go down in blazes of guts, glory, bullets, and fire. Hawke and Fishburne are opposite sides of the coin:the law, and the bathroom scale. Their need to partner in order to survive the guns outside is the movie's moral conflict, and both actors chew on Precinct 13's peeling walls and scuffed floors to drive the point home every chance they get. Obvious filmmaking fakery abounds in everything from the irksome snowstorm, frequent gunshots to the head, and a shadowy forest that conveniently presents itself in an industrial section of Detroit for the climactic showdown. No matter, this Assault is for non-thinkers who want blood and gunpowder, with no messy slowdowns for logic, please.--Ted Fry ... Read more

    Reviews (48)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Action-packed assault on the senses~!
    Ethan Hawke plays a role very similar to that in the film, "Training Day," as an undercover cop whose decided to trade in his badge for a desk job after an unfortunate incident involving his former partner. The typical drunk, cop feeling guilty for causing the tragedy,-type stupor overtakes him throughout the film. The premise is that they are closing down an
    old Precint 13, and in the morning moving to better quarters. They get caught in a blizzard, and a police bus transfering an underworld boss and miscellaneous convincts also is caught and the storm and must detour to Precint 13. What they don't know as a mysterious entity begins an assualt on the Precinct is that
    their new underworld prisoner is in league with some rogue cops, who now want him dead. There are plot twists a plenty and everything is not always as it seems. Some fine performances by Maria Bello(Payback), Drea DeMateo(The Sopranos),Ethan Hawke, Lawrence Fishburne, John Leguiazamo,Gabriel Byrne, and Brian Dennehey. There is action a plenty and this film will keep you guessing and biting your nails all the way, definitely worth seeing at least once.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Cops and Criminals Join Together to Fight a Common Enemy
    Hollywood remakes are usually weak, but this remake of the 1976 movie is a pretty good one, with some good suspense and drama. It stars Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne in the main roles, with a pretty good supporting cast of heroes and villains.

    The storyline of this movie involves a gang of men who attack a police precinct where a mob member (played by Fishburne) is being held prisoner. They attack because they are trying to get this guy. As a result, the cops and prisoners decide to take up arms together to fight this outside enemy. They are still adversaries and they distrust each other. But they know they must join forces if they want to win this battle.

    Is a plot like this realistic? Possibly, and the characters make it seem halfway believable. But some parts of this movie aside from the plot itself make it seem unreal. For one thing, the guys inside the precinct- both cop and criminal- seem a little too cool. They know they are under attack, but they act very relaxed about the whole thing, which isn't much like reality. Second, there is little intervention taking place on the outside. If something like this really happened, I would think (hope) the outside world would quickly be made aware and would send help. Or, at the very least, there would be reporters and local people gathered around while the event was taking place. In this movie, there is really nothing at all on the outside. No one in Detroit (where the movie is set) seems to care at all that this police precinct is under siege.

    Still, I think this is a good movie to watch. If nothing else, it is worth watching just to see Laurence Fishburne in action. He and Hawke steal the show with their chemistry and their strength of person and character.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT CHARACTER LINE-UP --
    Not going into this movie with any pre-conceived ideas I was ready to enjoy some action and mystery.

    It sure delivered!Hawke [like that name] as Jake lead us through a mental and emotional maze.The two women were a bit confusing [or is it a distraction]

    To me Fishburne as Bishop was a disturbing but powerful character [was he trustworthy at all??] Hate to say it but was glad he got away.

    I expected those two escapees to get it -- Was that a SWAT team shooter or an Army sniper?

    But Dennehy was the biggest surprise -- great character! [the twit].

    Precinct 13 set in Detroit was debatible - yeah! where did the trees come from?But still, don't bother with location just go with the flow.

    Still a great movie to watch - Hey, I am not buying the production just the enjoyment of watching some action and very good, believable characters.

    Definitely Recommended - action, great pace, some mystery [Gabriel Byrne was great - just as evil as ever] - Well worth watching again. [except for that fricking barnyard language]


    5-0 out of 5 stars Explosive Assault !
    This was 1 of the best ACTION movies that I have seen this year.Some of the scenes will put you in the mind of Syphon Filter for us gamers out there.Once again, Laurence Fishburne delivered a powerful performance, although he was a "bad" guy.Ethan Hawke also delivered an outstanding performance as a struggling with MAJOR issues cop who wasn't sure what he wanted to do with himself.Gabriel Byrne...his character should have been much deeper.Brian Dennehy, as anyone who watches the movie can tell, he is too calm to allow you to think that he is a "good" cop.Drea de Matteo, she acted ok, but she was much better in the Sopranos.Ja Rule seems to have a 3rd person complex in the film, stick to rapping please..you are much better in that niche.Last but not least, John Leguizamo will irritate your LAST GOOD NERVE in the film.If you want this movie strictly for the action, THIS IS IT !!!!!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good Movie with a question.
    I have not seen the orginial movie from 1976, but I enjoyed this movie non the less.It had great action and it kept you guessing who the bad person was in the precinct 13.The only question that I have is Where in Detroit is there a pine forest??????I live south of Detroit and there is no pine forest that I am aware of. ... Read more


    14. Anne of Green Gables
    Director: Kevin Sullivan
    list price: $34.99
    our price: $26.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005YNTR
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 455
    Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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    Album Description

    Import only NTSC/Region 1 DVD. Megan Follows, Tony Award-winner Colleen Dewhurst & Academy Award-nominee Richard Farnsworth give unparalleled performances in this critically-acclaimed motion picture, based on the international best-selling novel. Filmed amidst the spectacular scenery of Prince Edward Island, Canada, this Emmy Award-winning production follows the provocative life drama of orphan Anne Shirley (Follows), from her struggles as an adolescent to her triumphs as a young woman. A delicate epic full of wit, style & emotional power. Special features include behind-the-scenes clips, missing scenes, director's commentary, cast bios, previews, Megan Follows' audition. production stills & scene index. 1995. ... Read more

    Reviews (231)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent film!
    This is a terrific adaptation of the classic L.M. Montgomery coming of age story. It centers on young Anne Shirley, a strong willed, independent orphan who is adopted by siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. They originally wanted to adopt a boy to help out at their farm, but instead received a surprise when Anne arrived at the train station. Anne's adventures growing up are both funny and heart-warming. This is a fantastic movie that will please youngsters and adults alike, as there is something here for everyone! Megan Follows is excellent as Anne Shirley, Colleen Dewhurst is wonderful as the stern but loving Marilla and Richard Farnsworth is great as gentle Matthew. The supporting cast also give splendid performances. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless memories of a Canadian childhood
    I can still remember the excitement I felt when I first saw Anne of Green Gables almost fifteen years ago. It accurately and lovingly captures the thrills of childhood, of breathless anticipation, the joys of friendship, and the final moment when we must bid our childhood goodbye and take our place in the grownup world. The performances are flawless and capture the original flavour of each of the characters from the book. Megan Follows IS Anne Shirley, Shuyler Grant is a kindred Diana Barry, and Colleen Dewhurst is the stern Marilla Cuthbert who finds her heart unexpectedly embracing the joys of motherhood.

    Everything about Anne of Green Gables is done with the utmost love and respect in regard to the original novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne is every child, with her eyes open to the world, her thirst for knowledge, her immediate trust, her quest for adventure, and most of all her imagination. Megan Follows captures the timeless appeal of the orphaned Anne with spirit, grace, and wit. Her humorous mishaps, personal struggles, and her newfound love for the Cuthberts as well as her love for Avonlea make her an enduring heroine throughout the ages. Who knows? After seeing this film you may discover that you are a kindred spirit as well!

    5-0 out of 5 stars its a classic!!!
    What can i say, I LOVE this movie. I grew up watching this one and Anne of Avonlea(now the sequel) I also read the books when i was young. I still enjoy watching them as an adult. I just wish i had a daughter to watch it with and enjoy with me. (we have two wonderful boys and most likely wont have any more) The characters fit the roles perfectly and are excellent. You just fall in love with them all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars DVD QUALITY GREAT ! I can see the print of the wallpaper
    After watching this often on vhs I bought a DVD and I noticed the difference right away! You can see the print of fabrics, wallpaper, and details of everything much better. This is a wonderful story and the music is beautiful. All the actors are excellent. Great movie for little girls with red hair! Its not easy growing up with red hair. I love the way Anne is portrayed in this movie. There is a black and white version made in the 1930's and its okay. This movie also shows a girl taking her education seriously. The only thing I didn't like was that Gilbert is a little too much the lovesick fool. I think most guys would have given up on her, she was very mean to him.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Favorite For Any Generation
    This series has always been in my heart and always will be. I can always see myself in Anne Shirley, just as I'm sure every other young girl will. Kevin Sullivan did a beautiful job of bringing to life the works of Lucy M. Montgomery's series of Anne of Green Gables. I loved this movie the first time I saw it on television on PBS and I was thrilled to finally find it on DVD. Anne Shirley is a young orphan girl with a huge imagination, daydreams, and a huge talker. She's transferred from home to home and then back to the orphanage until she is finally picked to live in a town called Avonlea. She lives with a family Marilla & Mathew Cuthbert (played by: Colleen Dewhurst & Richard Farnsworth). After worrying she wouldn't be adopted because she's not a boy she warms their hearts and starts a new life with them. And she then soon meets her bosom friend Diana Barry (Schuyler Grant) and of course Gilbert Blythe (Jonathan Crombie). We follow the lives of these characters that Anne meets along the way. This series is for any young girl or for any girl at any age to enjoy and the entire family. The fun part is you can also see parts of the cast that end up being in Kevin Sullivan's production of Road to Avonlea. But this series is wonderful, charming, and full of adventures. The supporting cast is quite amazing as well they include: Rachel Lynde (Patricia Hamilton), Miss Stacy (Marilyn Lightstone), & Aunt Josephine (Charmion King) just to name a few of my favorites. This movie is also about life and the human heart that we see through Anne's eye's. The DVD is full of tons of great stuff such as Megan Follow's audition, a small behind the scene's moments, missing scene's, & tons more. So I do highly recommend this film for everyone. ... Read more


    15. Columbo - The Complete First Season
    list price: $59.98
    our price: $44.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002COTDA
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 321
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    TV detective fans rejoice: Peter Falk's rumpled and infallible Lt. Columbo joins the DVD precinct with a five-disc set that features the detective's first nine appearances for NBC. Though Falk as Columbo (no first name) made his TV debut in 1967, the detective had actually first appeared on an episode of the 1960-61 Chevy Mystery Show (Bert Freed played the role) written by veteran TV scribes Richard Levinson and William Link (The Fugitive, Alfred Hitchcock Presents). The pair turned the episode into a stage play titled Prescription: Murder, which was adapted into a TV movie in 1967 with Falk in the lead. NBC greenlit a two-hour Columbo pilot (Ransom for a Dead Man) in 1971, and the series was launched that fall as part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie, a rotating 90-minute program that alternated Columbo with episodes of MacMillan and Wife and McCloud (another Levinson/Link creation). Viewers were quickly won over by Falk's shrewd performance as he matched wits with a host of exceptional guest stars (including Gene Barry, Patrick McGoohan, and others), all of whom assumed that the disheveled detective would never figure out their "perfect crimes"; the popularity and quality of the original series allows Falk to continue to don the trenchcoat some 30 years later for occasional Columbo TV movies.

    All seven 90-minute episodes of the 1971-72 debut season are included here, along with Prescription: Murder and Ransom for a Dead Man; unfortunately, as the lieutenant himself would say, "Oh, just one more thing"--no extras are included in the set, but having these fine TV mysteries in one set should be reward enough for armchair sleuths. --Paul Gaita ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just one more thing: Thanks, Universal
    Finally, my dream come true. I've been expecting this release for a long time. I keep all the Columbo episodes on VHS and now it's great to know they're being released on DVD, hope it'll continue with all the seasons ahead. Robert Culp (Death lends a hand), Ross Martin (Suitable for framing), Jack Cassidy (Murder by the book),Roddy McDowell (Short fuse) and even Leslie Nielsen (Lady in waiting) are among the great actors that share the credits with Mr. Peter Falk (tip of the hat to him). Go for it, you won't regret it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars There IS Just One More Thing...
    Peter Falk's Columbo ranks as one of the greatest TV detective characters ever created. His ability to capture the kirky Los Angeles Lieutenant has captivated decades of viewers and is sure to also capture younger fans with this long-awaited DVD release.

    Created by Richard Levinson and William Link, the series debuted in 1971 with "Murder by the Book," which was actually the third appearance of Falk's Columbo (there had been two previous two-hour NBC World Premiere Movies prior to the series launch.) Interestingly, "Murder by the Book" was directed by a then unknown talent: Steven Spielberg.

    Columbo was unique in so many ways, the first was that the viewer learned the killer's identity in the first few minutes of every episode. Up until then, detective shows and mysteries had tried to keep the audience guessing "Who Done It?" until the very final scene. Levinson and Link turned that formula upside down, letting viewers in on the intracacies of the crime from the killer's viewpoint, their motivation, and what they did to cover their tracks to avoid discovery.

    Often, Columbo was not even introduced until 20 minutes or more into the episodes (which ran a network 90 minutes with commercials instead of the usual 60 minutes for dramas.)

    However, as soon as the audience caught a glimpse of the short, rumpled, cigar-smoking detective with the tan rain coat, they knew that they were watching something really special. Columbo feigned a scatter-brained approach, but it was soon obvious to viewers and the episode's killer that beneath his step-and-fetch-it manner lay the cooly brilliant mind of a master detective. And, it was the cat-and-mouse interplay and dialog between Columbo and the criminal that was at the heart of this brilliant series.

    Smartly written and tightly crafted, the dramatic tension was created as Columbo slowly chipped away the layers of subterfuge left by the killer to reveal the mechanics of the crime and the killer.

    Throughout the series, which spanned three decades after several relaunches as specials, Falk's black hair turned gray, but he wore the exact same rain coat while pursuing some of the best actors and actresses on TV or in the movies who portrayed various extremes of melevolent killers. A virtual "who's who" of the acting profession did a turn on Columbo.

    To say that Columbo affected the TV mystery genre is to give it far too little credit: it changed it forever and produced a detective from which his alter ego, the vastly talented Falk, will also never be able to escape.

    Let's hope the studio takes a clue from Colombo and quickly releases the rest of these outstanding episodes!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Why is there no remastering of Columbo?
    Universal has done the same thing to Columbo that they did to The Night Gallery series-no interviews,no documentaries and no remastering of the print. This is not good enough.
    If other studios can remaster everything from Star Trek to such average fare as Wonder Woman and The Dukes Of Hazzard,then Universal should have remastered the classic Columbo dramas and given us a new print of the series.
    It would be so nice to have an interview with Peter Falk and have him tell us about his movie career and his 30 year association with Columbo,which is one of the longest acting experiences in media history. Peter filmed his first Columbo in 1972 and his latest in 2003. Quite an effort and it would have been great to hear some stories,but fans get nothing.
    It would also be nice to see an interview with actor Patrick McGoogan and to hear how he got involved with acting and then writing,directing and producing some Columbo tele-movies,but again fans get left with nothing.
    Altough the print of Columbo will be an acceptable standard comparable with video tapes,with such new technology as plasma and high definition television,viewers deserve better these days.
    Other studios recognise this and Universal needs to wake up and join the new century. Perhaps when Vol 2 gets released,they might recognise this and give us a remastered set with some interviews.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'm in heaven! YES!!!!!!
    My heart sank to the floor when I saw that Columbo is on DVD. What I like best about this, is that it will be in broadcast order.
    Just the fact that it's on DVD, in broadcast order or mixed up, is simply WONDERFUL.
    How I long loved Columbo. It's a great detective show!!! Simply the best!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well, it looks like the set will contain...
    All 7 first season episodes, as well as the pilot "Prescription: Murder" and the "Ransom for a Dead Man" episode/movie as well for 9 total episodes/movies. YEAH!!! ... Read more


    16. Pooh's Heffalump Movie
    Director: Frank Nissen
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00080Z6Q0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 39
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Pooh's Heffalump Movie introduces a lovable new character to the Hundred Acre Wood. When mysterious noises spook Pooh, Piglet, and the others, Rabbit explains that everyone will have to band together to track down the dreaded Heffalump. Well, everyone, that is, except Roo, who's too small for the task. Not surprisingly, it's Roo who makes first contact, and he quickly finds out that first impressions aren't always true. You can see the Big Messages coming from a mile off (Xenophobia is bad! Don't underestimate little kids!), and one moment of mischief curiously passes without even requiring an apology. But kids will be charmed by the Heffalump and may even connect with the empowerment/maturity themes. Among the voice cast, Jim Cummings does knockout impressions of Sterling Holloway and Paul Winchell as the voices of Pooh and Tigger, respectively, and Carly Simon's songs are at their best when she sings them herself.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS MOVIE!
    I liked this movie! I read the review A roo movie and i liked it. I love this movie!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Roo Movie
    This is the most adorable movie. And the first theater movie we took our daughter to...I had to buy this one as a keepsake. Amazing after not seeing this what these little ones remember...we couldn't get her away from watching it!!!
    I realy think the title should have been "A Roo Movie"!!!
    If your little one likes Pooh this is a must have!!!
    I bought ours at Walmart as a combo with a Pooh CD ROM/coloring book and a DVD Sample of Little Einsteins for under $20.00

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Toddler Movie!
    This is the first movie we took our 3 year old to and she loved it.Usually movies have something that seems a little too scary for the little ones, but this one didn't.Nothing too intense or too serious.A great addition to the other Pooh classics.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pooh's Heffalump Movie
    I took my 4 year old daughter and 4 year old nephew to see this movie. It was incredible, the best Pooh movie I've seen in a long time. The kids sat through the whole thing very well and really enjoyed it. It had some very valuable lessons.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Disney movies ever...
    This is an awesome movie! Disney has really out done themselves with this Winnie the Pooh movie. This is my favorite out all of them. Why? 1.It adds 2 new characters to the One-Hundred Acre Wood which I was hopin the tigger movie would do. 2.It teaches alot of great lessons. 3.Lumpy is the cutest character ever! Im 13 and I enjoyed this movie. Other 13 year olds will say "Hes done seeing that movie" but even when I turn 110, I will Love Winnie the Pooh. Lets hope the next movie will be even better! ... Read more


    17. Million Dollar Baby (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Clint Eastwood
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JNP1
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 74
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Clint Eastwood's 25th film as a director, Million Dollar Baby stands proudly with Unforgiven and Mystic River as the masterwork of a great American filmmaker. In an age of bloated spectacle and computer-generated effects extravaganzas, Eastwood turns an elegant screenplay by Paul Haggis (adapted from the book Rope Burns: Stories From the Corner by F.X. Toole, a pseudonym for veteran boxing manager Jerry Boyd) into a simple, humanitarian example of classical filmmaking, as deeply felt in its heart-wrenching emotions as it is streamlined in its character-driven storytelling. In the course of developing powerful bonds between "white-trash" Missouri waitress and aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), her grizzled, reluctant trainer Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), and Frankie's best friend and training-gym partner Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman), 74-year-old Eastwood mines gold from each and every character, resulting in stellar work from his well-chosen cast. Containing deep reserves of love, loss, and the universal desire for something better in hard-scrabble lives, Million Dollar Baby emerged, quietly and gracefully, as one of the most acclaimed films of 2004, released just in time to earn an abundance of year-end accolades, all of them well-deserved. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

    Reviews (186)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone's already taken the compliments this movie can get
    I can't believe how much I liked this movie. I'm not really one for Boxing or Dramas (Unless their really good) but I was was pleasantly surprised.

    Good performances on all sides (Hilary really deserved that Oscar), and the film also has you caring for the characters...maybe not all of them, but definately Hilary Swank.

    - - -SPOILERS AHEAD- - -
    I hate using words like "heartbreaking," but that's just what the ending to this story was. It will wreck you for a week. My Dad, who I viewed the movie with, hated the ending. He wanted one of those fairy tale finishes but, in reality, the world doesn't have too many of those. I, on the other hand (While I was fighting like Mike Tyson to hold back tears), admire Clint Eastwood for not being afraid to take a story (no matter how "good" or "inspiring" it is) and do a complete 180 from the cliche ending it seemed it was heading. It takes big grapes to do that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Boxing Hilary?
    This movie uses its extremely strong characters and a decent storyline to create what could literally be called a modern day classic. It shows a softer side to Clint Eastwood that I am not sure we have ever seen before. Hilary Swank is outstanding - I wish I had a better word for her performance - but I am not sure there is one. They key to this film is her ability to pull off the boxing segments in a convincing manner - and she does that in spades. Her right hook appears to be truly devastating. Morgan Freeman also turns in an awesome performance - both he and Swank are worthy of the Oscar. Million Dollar Baby is a film that should not be missed. See it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie With An Unbelievable Scene!!!
    This movie stars Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank who seems to get another Academy Award every time she appears in a movie.This movie seems to be a female version of Rocky at the start but then becomes a touching human drama. The only thing that spoiled this movie for me was the usual sanitized Hollywood Death Scene. The last time I checked if your oxygen supply is cut off then you turn red, then blue then purple.Not so in this movie. I am sure that Doctor Kevorkian would have loved this movie for this reason alone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Million Dollar Baby
    Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman are fantastic and Hillary Swank absolutey stunning and beautiful even while dawning shorts and sweating like the proverbial pig.This is easily the best movie I've seen in years, it is a must see for not only boxing fans, but anyone who enjoys a movie that has it all.Did I mention Hillary Swank:)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Should be about 17 stars
    Let's face it Clint Eastwood's head should be up on Mt. Rushmore.While critics are going bananas over garbage like Kill Bill & Shanghai Noon & Pulp Fiction & nonsense like Star Wars..Clint not only consistently delivers the goodsHeck,,even his lesser pictures like Every Which Way But Loose and Space Cowboys are hugely entertaining. this is along with Unforgiven his crowning achievement. In other words it's as good as it gets...& to think it's about a female boxer of all things...just see it. ... Read more


    18. The Last Exile Complete Series Vol 1-7
    Director: Kôichi Chigira, Kristi Reed
    list price: $209.98
    our price: $146.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6303133185
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 6146
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    Description

    LIMITED EDITION BOX SET CONTAINS: • Vol. 1: First Move; Vol. 2: Positional Play; Vol. 3: Discovered Attack; Vol. 4: Breakthrough; Vol. 5: Grand Stream; Vol. 6: Queen Delphine; Vol. 7: Sealed Move – IN A COLLECTOR'S BOX! • Limited edition mouse pad (OUTSIDE THE BOX) • Limited edition figurine (OUTSIDE THE BOX)

    Set consists of the following titles:

    LAST EXILE: VOLUME 1: FIRST MOVE

    Japan's top anime creators bring a richly romantic action/adventure fantasy in an imaginary planet where retro-futuristic sky vehicles permeate the skies.Against this lavish background are the lives of young and heroic van ship sky porters – Claus and Lavie – who are forced to take on the mission to deliver a mysterious girl, Alvis, to the battle ship Silvana.Before they know it, they become entangled in an aerial adventure between two countries griped in an eternal war of magnificent air battleships. DVD EXTRAS:  Non-Credit Opening  Original Japanese Opening  Promotion Trailer  Staff Interview (Mahiro Maeda)  Art Gallery  Pioneer Previews
    LAST EXILE: POSITIONAL PLAY: VOL. 2 Claus and Lavie deliver Alvis to the airship Silvana's captain, Alex Row.But much to Claus' anger, Alex Row accepts Alvis inhumanely into the Silvana and leaves the duo and their damaged ship behind.Claus and Lavie fly to the Silvana to retrieve Alvis, but the airship is savagely attacked by Guild-controlled, star-shaped vessels.Claus and Lavie are forced to take on the attackers with a borrowed Silvana vanship.The Silvana is severely damaged.Dio Eraclea of the Guild flagship notices Claus' unusual flying talents and vows to have a duel with him. More than ever, Claus and Lavie realize they are wrapped up in the mysterious conspiracies of war controlled by the omnipotent Guild. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:  Non-Credit Ending  Original Japanese Ending  Commercial Collections  Art Gallery  Geneon Animation Previews
    LAST EXILE: DISCOVERED ATTACK: VOL. 3 Claus and Lavie participate in an eight-hour endurance vanship race, and are joined by Dio Eraclea who tries to befriend Claus.Tatiana also participates in the race, but she is actually on a secret mission under Alex Row's direction.In the meantime, Alex row bids for the mysterious "Exile Dorr" at a black market auction, but he is forced to withdraw from the bidding by the Guild.The Exile Door ends up in the hands of Delphine, the supreme leader of the Guild.And it becomes increasingly apparent that Alvis Hamilton is the key to the Exile. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:  LAST EXILE Exhibition in Tokyo, Art Gallery and Geneon Animation Previews
    LAST EXILE: BREAKTHROUGH: VOL. 4 Claus and Tatiana are thrown together to fly a vanship to defend Silvana from a massive attack orchestrated by Anatoray, and Tatiana begins to confide in Claus when the two make an emergency landing.Sophia, who is revealed to be of royal lineage, leaves Silvana, and inherits a leading role in the Anatoray army. And Claus discovers through an old photograph the secret relationship between his vanship, his and Lavie's deceased fathers, Captain Alex Row and the Grand Stream, all of which leads us closer to the meaning of the Exile. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:  LAST EXILE Exhibition in Tokyo  Art Gallery  GENEON Animation Previews
    LAST EXILE: GRAND STREAM: VOLUME 5 Claus and Lavie's fathers died attempting to cross the Grand Stream to deliver a message from Anatoray to Disith. Empress Sophia obtains a copy of the original message and discovers it suggested the two empires join forces to defeat the Guild and obtain peace in the skies!However, to defeat the Guild, one must take possession of the Exile, so Empress Sophia plans to command the Silvana to cross the turbulent Grand Stream to locate the Exile.Can they accomplish this dangerous feat within the critical six days? DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:  Textless Opening Version  Art Gallery  Geneon Animation Previews
    LAST EXILE: QUEEN DELPHINE: VOL. 6 Claus and Dio return to the Silvana from their vanship expedition to search for the Exile, only to find that the Silvana has been hijacked by the Guild. Delphine takes Alvis, Claus and Alex Row hostage and transports them to the Guild ship.Delphine attempts to lure Alex to provide all the mysterions open Exile gateway. Dio is declared the official successor of his sister Delphine after he is forced to partake of a series of rite of passage ceremonies. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:

     Art Gallery and Geneon Animation Previews
    LAST EXILE: SEALED MOVE: VOL. 7 With Luciola's help, Claus, Alvis and Dio escape the Guild ship while Delphine continues to hold Alex Row hostage and tortures him.Anatoray and Disith continue to wage an all-out war against the Guild and many sacrifice their lives attempting to prevent Delphine from gaining complete control of the Exile. Under Sophia's orders, Claus, Lavie and Alvis fly through the Grand Stream toward the Exile to complete their final mission in this heart-pounding conclusion! DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:  Geneon Previews ... Read more


    19. Racing Stripes (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Frederik Du Chau
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $20.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007Z0NYG
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 233
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    When you start watching Racing Stripes, you may not be prepared for how unbelievably cute a young zebra is. A travelling circus accidently abandons an adorably helpless zebra in the middle of Kentucky on a stormy night. Fortunately, the wee zebra is found by Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood, The Sweet Hereafter), a brilliant horse trainer who's given up his calling after a riding accident that killed his wife. His daughter Channing (Hayden Panettiere, Raising Helen) names the zebra Stripes and, before you know it, Stripes has grown to young adulthood and is aching to race at a nearby track. Thus begins a fairly formulaic triumph-over-adversity tale combined with talking animals--but Racing Stripes understands its formula and executes it without any pretensions. It doesn't hit the bullseye struck by Babe (an earlier triumph-over-adversity tale combined with talking animals), and there are bad puns and gags aplenty, but Greenwood's solid presence gives the movie an unexpected emotional fullness. Featuring a bizarre assortment of voices for the animals, including Whoopi Goldberg, Dustin Hoffman, Frankie Muniz, Mandy Moore, Joe Pantoliano (as a Mafioso pelican), Steve Harvey, David Spade, and Snoop Dogg. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

    Reviews (37)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Family Entertainment!
    Racing Stripes is actually a lot more entertaining and funny than I had expected. The story of a circus zebra(Stripes) adopted by a corn farmer/ex-race horse trainer Nolan Walsh(Bruce Greenwood), and eventually became a race horse when Channing Walsh(Hayden Panettiere) learned that it was a fast runner after riding it to work. At first, Nolan was reluctant to let his daughter to get into the race, because he feared that it was dangerous and that Stripes wasn't good enough. Soon the animals in the barn came up with a plan to convince him that Stripes was the perfect race horse, and deserved to be trained.

    The talking animals featured the voices of some well-known stars including Mandy Moore(Sandy the horse), Frankie Muntz(Stripes), Whoopi Goldberg, and Dustin Hoffman.

    It's a very good family film, and both Greenwood and Panettiere were wonderful and touching. The special feature has an alternative ending, and the Making Of that shows the voice-over and animation/special effects.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun, entertaining movie...
    I went into this movie not expecting much out of it. I actually enjoyed it so much, that I watched it a second time with my boyfriend. Many reviews said that it's a movie only aimed at kids and doesn't really have much to offer for the older audiences, and this review is to tell you that it's not true. I watched it with four adults and we all enjoyed it immensely. Give it a shot!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Almost as Good as "Babe"
    This is the story of a zebra named Stripes who is accidentally left behind by a traveling circus during a storm.He is raised by a former racing horse trainer and his daughter and grows up believing that he is a racing horse and has a strong desire to become one of the greatest.

    Positives:
    1)Talking animals.If you liked "Babe" and the talking animals in "Dr. Doolittle" (the Eddie Murphy version) then you'll love the talking animals in "Racing Stripes".They do a great job, even when trying to convey emotion.
    2)Pulls at the Heart-Strings.This isn't just a story of a zebra who wants to be a racing horse.There are so many other plots and sub-plots.By the end, they all get resolved, everybody is happy, and those who deserve to be pooped upon are done so by a gangster pelican.
    3)Good message.The overriding theme of the movie is one of my favorites: if you want something then work hard to get it.
    4)Good acting.With the exception of Wendie Malick (was she supposed to be THAT way over-the-top?), the acting by the human characters was quite good and believable.The emotional range of Hayden Panettiere is pitch-perfect for every occasion of the film.

    Negatives:
    1)Far too many adult jokes.Some of the humor of this movie was too grown-up.And if they were trying to be subtle with it, they did a horrible job with it.It was one thing to imply a swear-word, but to actually use one is another matter.

    If it weren't for the adult jokes, I would recommend this for the entire family.But I even felt uncomfortable having my eight year old watch it.I would recommend watching this with your family if all the children are pass their elementary school years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Flick For Kids!
    Racing Stripes is a wonderfully, funny, family film. Children and adults will find themselves giggling at silly, comedic acts, while being drawn into the film through a heartwarming story about a girl and her pet zebra, Stripes.

    3-0 out of 5 stars They really could've tried a little harder.
    Racing Stripes (Frederick Du Chau, 2005)

    Watching Racing Stripes with me is rather like watching Jurassic Park with a paleontologist. It's probably not going to be a pleasant experience. I'm rather surprised the actual Turfway Park hasn't sued for defamation of character. (At least they put it in the correct state.) Don't get me started on jockey licensing, Thoroughbred breeding, and the hundred other little details overlooked by the movie, though I have to say none of them compared to turning the gorgeous Turfway Park, one of America's most beautiful racetracks (which, it should be noted, ironically doesn't have a turf course), into a county fair bullring. At least they didn't call it Keeneland.

    Okay. Now put aside all the technical stuff that's wrong with the movie. Is it any good from a layman's point of view? Well, it's not bad, mostly because of the voice talent. Such actors as Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, Frankie Muniz, Fred Dalton Thompson, and a number of other big names lent their voices to animals here with lovely results. The human actors, on the other hand, are to a person bad. Even the normally enjoyable Bruce Greenwood and the normally fantastic M. Emmett Walsh are bland and insipid here.

    But even if the voice talent is good, it's not running on much that's worthwhile. One reviewer called it "Babe in stripes," and that's pretty much what it comes down to-- fish (erm, pig-- no, wait, zebra) out of water has to try and fit in among those who are different from him. But where Babe approached the idea with freshness, originality, and an innocent sweetness that approached fairy tale-quality, Racing Stripes just seems like a slightly degenerated retread; it's probably serviceable, but don't go for long drives in the desert, or it might blow on you far, far away from civilization. ** ½ ... Read more


    20. Ray (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Taylor Hackford
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JND5
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 7481
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